Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Process

by Joyce

Some of you probably know I signed with agent Meredith Barnes a few months ago. Since then, I’ve been revising what used to be called THAT EFFING BOOK. The real title I finally came up with is IN SPITE OF MURDER (or ISoM as Awesome Agent calls it), which could be changed in the future as is known to happen.

More than a few beginning (and maybe not-so-beginning) writers have the impression that once you sign with an agent all you do is hand over your manuscript, the agent sells it as is, and voila—it’s on the bookshelf.

Um. No.

Not by a longshot.

I’m on my sixth revision of this manuscript, and that doesn’t count the revising and editing I did daily while I wrote it. (I always read over what I wrote the day before and fix what I don’t like before I move on.) Right now, I’m about 2/3 through my third agent-inspired revision. I’m sure the process is different for each author and his/her agent, but I thought someone might want to know how it worked for me. Or not. But I’m going to tell you anyway. Cause I’m like that.

My first revision letter from Meredith was four pages long—and this was before she offered representation. I was impressed that she took that much time to show what needed to be fixed and I wasn’t even her client. To say I was excited was an understatement. I actually cried. Hard to believe, I know. When I peeled myself off the ceiling, I got to work. About six weeks later, I sent it off and waited.

I didn’t have to wait long—only two weeks. I guess I did something right, because she offered representation. And sent more revision notes. This revision was more intense than the first. We decided to restructure the book, moving some plot elements from the third quarter of the book to the first quarter, which meant deleting a lot of scenes that no longer made sense and writing new ones in their place. That’s a very simplistic way of saying It was a bitch and the hardest thing I ever did and it almost killed me. It sure made the book a lot better, though.

The revision I’m working on now is more a clean up than anything else. We decided I needed another scene or two with my character’s love interest, and another one with the bad guy. I have a tendency to be a little short on description, so I’m fleshing that out, too.

You may have noticed I said “we decided” up above. The author-agent relationship and the decision of what to revise is very much a team effort. And I’m absolutely ecstatic to be on Meredith’s team.


Annette said...

I am sooo thrilled for you, Joyce! Can't wait to celebrate your book deal with you!

Jenna said...

I hate revising. Hate and despise it. So far I've been lucky; my revision letters have always been short and sweet, from both agent and editors. Three-four paragraphs. But I have a new series and a new editor now, in a new genre, and I'm waiting for the axe to drop on the first revision. And it's scary!

Good for you, getting it done, Joyce. And you picked good; Meredith's a sweetheart. You can tell her I said so.

Joyce Tremel said...

Thanks, guys!

Annette, the same goes for you. Are you planning on getting back to the Zoe books now? I want to read more!

Jenna, I LOVE Mer. She really is awesome.

Annette said...

Joyce, I miss Pete and Zoe something awful. But for now I don't see me going back to work on that series for a while. I have enough nonfiction and short story projects on the horizon to keep me busy until I hear back from The Agent about the racetrack one.

Joyce Tremel said...

I miss Pete and Zoe, too. :-(

Paula Matter said...

HEY! Why did I not know this fabulous news? Joyce, get thee to Facebook for cryin' out loud!

Or, I suppose I could be on Twitter more...

Anyway, congratulations! Meredith is a sweetheart. I met her at Crime Bake a couple of years ago.

Joyce Tremel said...

Thanks, Paula. Facebook. Yeah, I know I must succumb to it eventually.

C.L. Phillips said...


I am inspired by your journey. I cannot wait to hold your book in my hands. Yep, no e-book on this one. I want to drip chocolate between the pages, and spill coffee on the really good parts while I delight in the world you created.


Patg said...

Quite frequently the journey is as rewarding as the destination, but you forget all that when the book is in your hand.
Good luck, Joyce.