Getting Editor Revisions

by Robin Caroll

It’s the same for me every single time I turn
in a manuscript. I hover at my computer, checking email every 3 minutes for a
note from my editor. Doesn’t matter if it’s an editor I’ve worked with several
times or a new one. Doesn’t matter if it’s a publishing house I’ve partnered
for several books with or if it’s my first with them. I’m literally waiting
with baited breath for editorial feedback.

And when it finally comes, I have the same
sensations as I always do: excitement to see how the first person besides me
feels after interacting with my characters; dread to maybe confirmation I’m a
hack; and energized to make my book the best it can be.

Even after close to 30 books, I still manage
to go through the same emotions…and then the same steps to deal with all of


When I get my edited manuscript back, I scan through it and read all the
comments quickly. Then I let myself vent. Usually to my husband.

“What does she mean this phrasing is
awkward?” and “The pacing isn’t off in this scene!” and “How can she not see
the hero’s motivation? It’s so obvious!” are all things I have vented. Just a
few of the many. And my husband, being the good man that he is, nods his head,
hugs me, then takes me out to dinner. Which also helps move into the next step…

Take a Day Away From the Manuscript
Since the family and I go out to eat, it’s easy enough not to go right back to
the file when I get back. I force myself to ignore the manuscript (and revision
notes) for 24 hours to let my subconscious work through what I read.

When I return the next day, the comments make
a lot more sense than they did the previous day. For some reason, the first
read of edits usually feel like personal attacks. After that, they feel more
like good insight and suggestions.

Remember We’re Partners to Make the Book
the Best Possible

When it’s time to start revising, it helps me to remember that my editor and I
are working together to put out the best version of my story as there can be. If
I’m unsure of her comments, I ask. I’d rather be clear on what I need to do. It’s
my editor’s job to tear apart my manuscript like the pickiest critic ever and
find every nitpicking detail anyone could even think about causing a pause in
the reader’s experience. It’s my job to polish until it shines. How to do that?
Here are my tips:

1-Start Simple
Complete the easy stuff first. Word choices. Active vs passive. The little
things the editor pointed out that I can fix in less than a minute. Once I get
those done, I always feel so productive.

2-Fix Character Issues
Yes, my
precious “babies” have issues I need to fix. After the simple stuff, I work on
the character issues the editor has pointed out. I created these people, so I
should be able to step into their skin and smooth out roughness that the editor
pointed out. Which finally leads to…
3-Fix Plot Issues
Once the
easy stuff is completed and then the characters are shining, I move on to the
last stage: plot issues the editor has found. Sometimes that means stripping
apart my timeline and rebuilding. Sometimes I need to weave in more, or
sometimes cut. A lot.

When revisions are all said and done, I
usually take a day to let the story “rest.” The next day, I read it through,
making any final changes before saving and sending. But once it’s done and
gone, I move on. Because, after all, I’ll be getting line edits soon!

learned that the harder I work on a book, the more satisfying to hold the final
product in my hands. Every time I work with an editor, I learn and grow as a
writer. Hopefully, my craft improves from each editor’s insights. And it’s time
to start on the next book, as deadlines loom!
Torrents of
As a white water rafting guide, Katie
Gallagher must battle the forces of nature on a daily basis. When sabotage
becomes apparent on a weekend rafting trip, Katie must determine who she can
trust—and who has their own agenda.
Hunter Malone has a mission on a
business adventure trip on the Gauley River, a mission that didn’t include a
spunky guide who could handle the class-five rapids better than he’d ever
imagined. But can she handle the truth?

Born and raised in Louisiana, Robin Caroll
is a southerner through and through. Her passion has always been to tell
stories to entertain others. Robin’s mother, bless her heart, is a genealogist
who instilled in Robin the deep love of family and pride of heritage–two
aspects Robin weaves into each of her 25 published novels. When she isn’t
writing, Robin spends time with her husband of twenty-five+ years, her three
beautiful daughters and two handsome grandsons–in the South, where else? She
serves the writing community by serving as Executive/Conference Director for
ACFW. Her books have finaled/placed in such contests as the Carol Award, Holt
Medallion, RT Reviewer’s Choice Award, Bookseller’s Best, and Book of the Year.

5 Secrets to Getting Published

post by Michelle Griep

Psst. Hey buddy. Step over here and I’ll tell you the secret to getting published. . .

#1. Learn the craft.
You have to know the writing rules to break the writing rules. Yes, even if you’re wearing a leather jacket and have a pack of Pall Malls rolled up in your tee-shirt sleeve. How can you rebel if you don’t know what you’re rebelling against? There are certain writing rules you need to know simply to have an intelligent conversation with another writer, things like point of view, showing vs. telling, writing tight, or the endless debate on whether a Pilot G3 beats out a Uni-Ball Jetstream (and it does, every flipping time).

#2. Write a kick a** story.
Even when you’ve learned the craft of writing, story is still king. If a reader doesn’t care about the sweeping saga of a lovestruck coyote pining for a rock badger in Colonial America, you’re not going to sell the dang thing. There’s got to be an oh-my-goodness-what-happens-next kind of breadcrumb trail to lead your reader from beginning to end.

#3. Breathe life into your characters.
And not just the hero and heroine, baby. Any character that shows up in your story needs to be a person of interest, even if that “person” is a dolphin. Your reader needs to relate to your characters in some way, shape, or form or they just won’t care a fig about them. And personally, I hate figs. Fig Newtons included.

#4. Finish what you start.
Newsflash: if you keep re-writing and overthinking the first few chapters, you’ll never type “The End.” Seriously, didn’t you learn this in preschool? Listen up, class. When we begin a project, we should see it through to completion. Unless, of course, you’re sheet-rocking a ceiling. In that case, just hire it out.

#5. Slap on a smile and get out there and network.
I understand you’re an introvert. Most writers are. Still, they do sell big boy and big girl undies at Target. Just ask a clerk. The point is that you need to suck it up and go meet agents and editors. They are the gatekeepers for traditional publishers. And even if you decide to self-publish, you’ll need to network to get the word out about your book.

There you have it, kids. It really is as simple as pounding your head against the wall. Getting published takes perseverance and a bucketload of blood, sweat and tears, so stock up on band-aids, deodorant, and kleenex and you’ll be good to go.

Like what you read? There’s more. WRITER OFF THE LEASH: GROWING IN THE WRITING CRAFT is a kick in the pants for anyone who wants to write but is stymied by fear, doubt, or simply doesn’t know how to take their writing to the next level.

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. Follow her adventures and find out about upcoming new releases at her blog, Writer Off the Leash, or stop by her website. You can also find her at the usual haunts of FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.

Writing Lessons

By day, Liz Johnson works as a
marketing manager, and she makes time to write late at night. Liz is the author
of nine novels—including her latest, The Red Door Inn (Prince Edward Island Dreams, book 1)—and a New York Times bestselling novella. She makes her home
in Nashville, where she enjoys exploring local music, theater, and making
frequent trips to Arizona to dote on her nieces and nephews. She writes stories
of true love filled with heart, humor, and happily ever afters. Connect with
her at or

Writing Lessons
I was standing in line for coffee
(well, in line with others in line for coffee—I prefer the near milkshake
version) at a writers conference several years ago. The woman behind me was
also alone and also wearing a nametag identifying her as part of the same
conference. Feeling a little more extroverted than usual, I asked, “What
do you write?”
I expected a quippy response—the kind
of single-line identifier writers spend years perfecting. What I got instead was
a tirade on the ills of Christian publishing and the narrow-mindedness of some editors not interested in books
about missionaries in Africa.
After five full minutes, she
harrumphed. “I just don’t understand why God would call me to write this
book, when no one seems to be interested.”
I thought that probably translated
into, “I had a couple painful editor appointments,” but I didn’t say as
much. Instead I gently—I hope I was gentle, anyway—suggested that perhaps God
had called her to write the book so He could teach her something new.
To which she snapped, “I’ve
already learned the lessons I wrote about in my book.”
Thank goodness it was then my turn to
order. Double that whip cream, please.
I wonder about that exchange every
now and then. It was years ago, and I probably wouldn’t recognize the woman
again if she introduced herself. But I think about what I really meant to say,
and if I’m listening to my own advice. You see, I think God uses the very
process of writing and editing and pitching books to teach us amazing things. Even
on the surface level, I’ve learned some incredible lessons, like perseverance
pays off, flexibility is important, and big computer screens can hide bad hair
But there’s more to this whole
putting thoughts to paper thing. Here are three lessons God has taught me
through the course of writing my books.
My worth isn’t in sales or how many books have my name on the cover.
Who I am is not how many people
recognize me on the street (none, by the way) or what conference I’m asked (or
not asked) to speak at. Doing the hard work of writing a book isn’t about
making a name for myself or being told I’m a wonderful writer (although that’s
nice to hear every now and then). Because in the darkness (I write best at
night) it’s just me and my computer and God. That time alone is 95% of my
writing life. And in that time, when the enemy whispers lies into my ear (like
I’ll never amount to anything or I’m not worthy), I cling to the reminder that
my worth is wrapped up in one thing. I am a child of God. And I do what I do
because it’s the call He’s given me. I’m called to use my talents and not bury
them in the ground. The process of writing reminds me whose I am and whose
voice I heed.
God’s good gifts don’t always come in the form of five-star reviews.
Matthew 7 talks about how God is a
good Father, who wants to give His children good gifts. It’s easy to think that
those gifts always come wrapped in red ribbons and blazing with stars. But
sometimes the sweetest gifts come in a spurt of writing or an unexpected inspiration.
My favorite of his gifts are epiphanies that fill in gaping plot holes I
couldn’t fill on my own.
The passage I mentioned in Matthew
follows the familiar “ask and it shall be given to you” line. I’ve discovered a
joy in asking God for help and waiting to see how He’ll show up. Sometimes it’s
through a kind word from a reader. Other times it’s in a brainstorming session
with a fellow writer. And then there are the times when it’s a meal made by a
friend who knows I’m on deadline and just need real food. When my eyes are open
to them, I see His gifts everywhere.
I don’t have to fear rejection.
Writers know the acute pain of
dismissal better than most. We wrack up rejection letters with a butterfly net
and wear them like a badge of honor. But that doesn’t mean they stop stinging.
We pitch to our dream editors and agents, hold our breaths, and let out loud sighs
when we hear back. “It’s not right for me.” “Your manuscript isn’t quite
ready.” “It doesn’t fit into the market right now.” Or a reviewer plants a
one-star review on your work, their words harsh and overly critical.
Industry experts tell us these aren’t
personal rejections, but how could they not feel that way when we’ve poured our
hearts into these stories? They hurt. Even after the 12th and 25th
and 99th. (And they don’t hurt any less after you’ve published a
book or six.)  What I’ve come to learn is
that a rejection may burn, but it’s not lethal. It may leave a bruise, but
it’ll heal. And in the midst of that pain, I continue to turn to one truth. God
has promised never to leave me or forsake me. No matter what pain this life
brings, His love is everlasting. I don’t have to fear rejection because He’ll
never reject me.
the conversation. What have you
learned through the process of writing, editing, and pitching your work?
The Red Door Inn
Marie Carrington is broke, desperate,
and hoping to find sanctuary on Prince Edward Island while decorating a
renovated bed-and-breakfast. Seth Sloane moved three thousand miles to help
restore his uncle’s Victorian B and B–and to forget about the fiancée who
broke his heart. He wasn’t expecting to have to babysit a woman with a taste
for expensive antiques and a bewildering habit of jumping every time he brushes
past her.
The only thing Marie and Seth agree
on is that getting the Red Door Inn ready to open in just two months will take
everything they’ve got—and they have to find a way to work together. In the
process, they may find something infinitely sweeter than they ever imagined on
this island of dreams.

Industry News

Megan DiMaria is Novel Rocket’s industry news columnist. An author and speaker, she enjoys cheering on writers and loves to encourage others as they journey through life’s demands and delights. Megan is the author of two women’s fiction novels, Searching for Spice and Out of Her Hands
Welcome to the December 2015 edition of
Novel Rocket’s industry news. I hope you all have a blessed Thanksgiving. Enjoy the next few weeks leading up to Christmas, and have a blessed
Christmas day. Don’t forget to give books for Christmas!
Have a great month, friends. Write on!