About a month ago, I earned a spot as #PitchWars 2017 mentee. I was ready and up to the challenge as well as honored by this opportunity to learn, connect, and revise. Since then, it’s been a roller coaster of work, exhaustion, too many sweets, and wonderful new friends.
For now, I wanted to take the time to let others in on what’s kept me so secluded every waking hour I’m not at school.
Step One: World-Building
While I waited for my edit letter, my mentor suggested working on world-building. My young adult science fiction book takes place hundreds of the years the future in a different terraformed galaxy. World-building meant fleshing out planets, dreaming up futuristic changes to the world (plants, animals, production, etc.), and detailing how the government works.
I spent about two weeks (maybe a week and a half) creating as many nuances to the world as I could. Every change fleshed out the characters and plot, making the story more immersive. It took a lot of research (the future of agriculture, mining, animal crossbreeding, etc.), but I think I have a lot to work with!
Step Two: Edit Letter
Shortly after the announcement, I received a 9ish page edit letter from my awesome mentor Lyndsay Ely. It detailed a lot of things she loved and a lot of things I needed to change. The letter mostly included things that needed to change in the first act, and my mentor suggested we take the book chunk by chunk. That process has worked wonders for me because it allows me to care for each section and receive feedback that leads me into the next section.
Step Three: Revising
I’m currently on step three, and I’ll be there for some time. Since receiving the edit letter, I’ve worked on changing chapters, scenes, characters, and paragraphs of my book. I’ve cut seven chapters in the beginning and worked them into flashbacks, memories, and dialogue during the first act. I’ve added brand new chapters to increase tension and further character development. SEVERAL ideas had to be changed drastically and those changes are reflected through the entire manuscript.
Consider revising like throwing a rock in a pond. You throw the rock, it breaks the surface, and nestles on the bottom. That’s making a change to your manuscript. You decide to cut an integral part of a character, GREAT! But what you forget about are the ripples on the surface of the pond. Those cascade out to the rest of the water your rock will never see.
This is all to say that I’ve changed almost the entirety of my book. The premise is still there– teens in space have to steal a thing for the government or face prison and/or death. It’s the details and the way that plot has come together that’s unrecognizable from the previous version.
Throughout the Process
I’m not going to gush about it, but I’m blessed to be working with my mentor. Lyndsay is kind, funny, and supportive. She brainstorms with me for hours, chats about food and drinks, and checks on me when I bury my head in my laptop for too long. I’m incredibly honored to have that support (especially when I can’t wrap my head around something obnoxiously simple! It happens… too often.)
This contest has also given me a community. I told my husband this morning that I think I finally found my people. They are kind, supportive, and funny. Someone posts a joke and we all get it. No one’s left in the dark. If you ask for help, at least twenty people are there with suggestions and tissues.
On the Horizon
I’m at the end of act 2 which is about 70%ish into my manuscript. It will change next month as I revise AGAIN. That’s right, you heard me. What I’ve done so far are structural edits (getting the plot, characters, and scenes into the places they need to be). After this, I start over with line-edits and details that don’t fit. It’s the polish before this thing goes into the agent round. (My goal is to have a post about that process later).
Wish me luck as I dive back into edits and finish this round! Thanks to those who have been supportive. Stephen has especially been wonderful in giving me time, space, and food when I most need it. He’s the reason I haven’t become a troll in the dungeon of Hogwarts yet.
Here’s to more edits and adventures! Wish me luck.
#TeamNothingButTheRain signing out.