Vision: A Resource for Writers
Lazette Gifford, Editor
Vision@sff.net
Holly Lisle's Vision

Color My Revisions

By Carol Stephenson

2002, Carol Stephenson

When I received a four-page revision letter from a Silhouette editor on NORA'S PRIDE, the first thing I did was take a deep breath and contact the editor directly about an item I didn't understand.  If you've never called an editor, be prepared, as I was patched straight through to the editor.  After surviving that call, the second thing I did was sit down and tag with red flags those pages for which the editor had suggested specific changes.

While those comments had seemed lengthy in the letter, after I tagged them, I could see these changes were neither numerous nor extensive.

Then I rolled my eyes because the next item in the editor's letter was major: the editor wanted me to delete or streamline scenes in which the hero and heroine were either not together or were together with others present.  She also requested more scenes with only the hero and heroine.  Since my old scene graph was outdated from previous revisions, the time-consuming task of recharting my book to spot the problem areas and scenes to delete loomed ahead of me.  This was not good, as I needed to do a quick turnaround on the revisions (think "first book sale" ribbon for the July national conference).

My gaze lit on the packet of color flags, and a light bulb went off.

I assigned green flags to "hero/heroine not together," orange for "together but not alone," and yellow for "alone."  It took me less than half an hour to flip through the manuscript and tag each scene with the appropriate color flag.

Voila.  I had a clear, colorful visual aid of what the editor was talking about.  Immediately, I could see areas of concentration of a particular color and flip to them.  Yep, here were two green scenes I could target for elimination and create yellow scenes in their stead.  And oh yeah, there were two orange scenes that I could convert into yellow.

Next time you receive a revision letter, try assigning colors to specific items, and see if this will shortcut the for process.

Color me happy.