Rewriting and Revising

Horrid, dreaded words every writer cringes when hearing. I worked so hard on my manuscript. Why should I rewrite or revise it? I can't tell everyone how much I've heard just those words, mostly from writers new to the game. Rewriting and revising is the major part of what we do. Creating the story is only like a very detailed outline. Then we must go through with red pencil and ruthlessly scratch out the chaff. We must also weigh each word for importance to plot movement. And all dialogue must sound natural. That being said, rewriting and revising is and will always be something I dread with every fiber of my being. I am a writer. Creativity is my middle name, along with research. But I learn so much about my stories during the rewriting and revising phase.

Take Secrets from the Flames, my current major rewrite project. This story started life as Earth Angel, about a teen seeking answers. Her answers weren't will my guy dump me or will the cool girls ever accept me. No, these answers have to do with a 50 year old mystery and clearing her family name of a scandal so old and horrid, no one believes her at first. Actually, at first, she believes what the town does. What teen wants to be different. So, Earth Angel limped along, an almost boiler plate story about a girl trying to do write in face of overwhelming odds. Then I saw the "Dear Lucky Agent" contest for March. Hmmm? Definitely a paranormal story with the ghosts and ghostly possession. Definitely a romance, a kind of Romeo and Juliet or maybe Hatfield and McCoy's type of romance (if any of the Hatfields or McCoys teens actually snuck around seeing each other before they signed their peace accord back in 2001). So, why not? I, after all, am a contest junkie. Show me a writing contest and I look through everything I have in an effort to find something suitable for it.

Thus began a journey to rewrite the entire first chapter of Secrets from the Flames, a journey I almost gave up on several times as too hard. But too hard is usually by battle cry. So, unexpected snow storms shutting schools for two consecutive days, leaving my bored teen driving me nuts had no impact on my creative wheels. They spun out of control, as out of control as wheels hitting the ice on our driveway one day. Running back and forth to school to help my teen prepare for his CRCTs (the state's annual assessment tests) only frustrated me and I made tons of notes in the journal I carry in my bag. And then finally, in the waning hours when I began to think I would never have anything good enough, the breakthrough came. The first 200 words set the scene of paranormal with a romance in the wings. The logline is one clear sentence that brings in all the elements of the story. All that's left is to blog about it and link the Guide to Literary Agents blog to mine. Done!

Therefore, let's go over the important elements of this contest, the third Lucky Agent contest run by Guide to Literary Agents blog.

1. The contest is live from February 27, 2010 to March 14, 2010. So, here I am at the last second ready to post. But it is the day before. If you're reading this prior to midnight March 14, 2010, and you have a great logline and first 200 words of a paranormal romance or urban fantasy young adult or adult novel, check out this link:,month,2010-02.aspx Got that? Ready for step 2? Then let's go.

2. As stated previously, you need the first 150 to 200 words of your completed manuscript. Big emphasis on completed. Anything shorter or longer than the stated word count is not considered. Another big contest rule. Always follow the word or page count.

3. The contest is solely for completed works of urban fantasy or paranormal romance (adult or young adult). They have examples at the above link as to what those are. Good idea to check them out.

4. You can submit as many times as you want.

5. Contest is open to everyone of all ages except for a few people. They tell you all about it on the link.

The link also contains the email address where you have to send your work. So, without further ado, I must get on with my very busy day. But before I do anything else, I will send in this entry I labored over through many obstacles that only slowed me but never let me think of defeat more than once or twice, an hour


Theresa Danley said…
Hey there!

Good luck on all of your contests. Keeping my fingers crossed for you!
KC Sprayberry said…
Luck to you too. May is just around the corner. The book launch is still on. Right?
Donna said…
Contests!! Can you tell I'm a little disenchanted with contests? My slow internet caused me to miss out on the Dear Lucky Agent one. It took me about 3 days to find a way to afford wireless high speed. It might not be as fast as some, but I won't miss out again.

Can't wait until you finish Teen Angel - which is how I'll always think of Ciara's story!!