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Slow Cooking a Rump Roast AKA Revisions

Okay, not really. But the analogy kind of fits.

Especially when you're talking about revisions. See, a lot of times, revisions take a certain amount of stewing to get them to that just right pull-apart stage. You want the perfect blend of seasoned adverbs, adjectives, nouns, and verbs that will make everyone's mouth water in anticipation.*

My process usually goes something like this:

Write the book.
Send to Agent.
Send to betas.
Get feedback from Agent.
Cry, whine and throw a tantrum. ('s perfect...*sniffle*)
Give it a few days. (In which I go through the stages of 'I can't write, I suck')
Clean my house in a desperate bid for control.
Realize Agent was spot on.
Begin revising.
Have brainstorm idea that makes book 1000% better.
Send giddy e-mail (or ten..sorry Mandy!) to Agent telling them how right they were.
Dig in to revisions and finish in record time.
Back to betas for plot-gap patrol.
Back to Agent.

Those few days of stewing always help me see the big picture. The bud has been planted. It takes root in my head and starts to sprout.* Subconsciously, I start to insert these ideas into the plot. Before I know it, that AHA moment strikes and I start tentatively typing out notes. It grows, blossoms, and takes on a life of its own.

Soon, I have a completely revised manuscript that is so much better than the first draft. What have I learned from all this?

Trust the process. If you want the perfect roast, you can't rush it. Sit back and enjoy the aroma while you pick away at your revisions, and soon, you'll have a brilliant book AND a great dinner!

How about you? What is your Achilles revision heel and how do you get over it?

*excuse the overuse of analogies today. I am weaning back on the coffee consumption and trying to fight my way out of that morning haze au natural!
Lee Bross

Lee lives her happily ever after on the coast of Maine where she has written Tangled Webs, her historical YA debut, and fantasy YA books Fates and Chaos under pen name Lanie Bross. She also writes contemporary books for New Adult under the name L.E. Bross, debuting with Right Where You Are.

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  1. Great post. I'm about to start on a round of agent revisions so this is a timely post. Your process sounds a lot like mine.:)

  2. The hardest part of revision is staying emotionally neutral and doing what's best for the book. No the worst part is not knowing what if I"m doing making it stronger. I normally take HUGE gaps in time before tackling a revision, like 4-8 months. Time helps me look at it with fresh eyes.

    I did a whole bunch of links on my blog about revision last week.

  3. And I thought I was the only one who sat around saying I SUCK after beta/agent reviews...LMAO

  4. Ugh, I hate getting that revision email (even though it's always right). I tend to start working on another project for a few days to clear my head before I dive back into revisions, and it's been working well so far!

  5. Of course, now I want a rump roast. Thanks. :P

    Great post. For me, rather than crying, whining, and tantruming, I stop being able to sleep because until I figure out what to do with my advice, I must think about it every single second of the day and night.

  6. You see so clearly when you put the work away for a while.

    I wish I had some meat in the house.

  7. YES! Perfect description of the process. (sans agent for me, but whaaaateva, whuteva) I love it. :D

  8. my process is definitely different!

    write book
    revise (<--I am here with book 3)
    send to betas
    send to agent
    send to editor
    revise (<--I am here with book 2)

    I revise like crazy before I send my book to betas, and revise again before sending books to my agent. I want to get the most of her time! although the sniffles, housecleaning & epiphanies are the same.

  9. Mine's a combo of Lee's and Kirsten's, minus the agent step and + a little more stewing. It's getting better but it took me about a month each to process my first few beta reads.

  10. I like the analogy a lot! And as far as the process goes, I'm just now learning the importance of the tantrum stage. I mean, criticism isn't easy to take, so you might as well give yourself permission to turn into a two-year-old for awhile and let it out. Then you can pull it together and get to work.

  11. I love the simmering! I actually enjoy revisions a lot though, including getting the notes.

    I also love the process of cooking as much as eating. Coincidence? Hmmm...

  12. This probably explains a lot. I cook like I write. A little of this, a little of that. Boom. Delicious meal. Just don't expect me to do it the same next time!

  13. GREAT post! And you are so right. Once I get past the 'OMG my agent hates it and I FAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIL!' reaction and let the notes swirl around in my head a bit, I usually find the perfect solution (usually accompanied by a 'why didn't I think of that in the first place?' and a whole lot of grumbling) :)


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Item Reviewed: Slow Cooking a Rump Roast AKA Revisions Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Lee Bross