Monday, 2 April 2012

Revisions (and pineapples)

So, it was 5.30 on Friday evening, and I’d done my 2000 words for the day. I was ahead of my schedule.  Feeling pretty pleased with myself, I was looking forward to the weekend.  I was just getting up to make myself a cup of tea when I heard the tell-tale ‘ping’ of an email arriving in my inbox … and there was my editor’s response to the book I sent in so long ago I’d almost forgotten about it. 

This was the kind of book referred to my fellow romance writers as a ‘pineapple’.  As in what it feels like to give birth to one. I love this expression which perfectly expresses the agony of dragging a story kicking and screaming onto the page.  After which I had to rewrite the entire thing in four days flat.  So when I saw the subject line of the email my heart sank. 

I was braced for “Well, it was a good try but perhaps it’s time you gave up”, but in the event the suggested revisions weren’t too onerous.  So successfully had I wiped the entire sorry story from my mind that when I first read my editor’s comments I couldn’t remember who half the characters she referred to were, which was a bit disturbing.

So my first task was to re-read the entire manuscript and remind myself about all the incidents that had left me blank.  It’s always good to come back to a story after a complete break as invariably it’s better than you remember.  I don’t think this is going to be one of my favourite books – although I thought exactly the same about Ordinary Girl in a Tiara (another massive pineapple) which has done far better than those rare lovely books that write themselves.  So perhaps there’s a lesson there!

Anyway, the main change was making the reasons for Frith’s need for control more explicit.  I felt a bit as if this meant laying it on with a trowel, but I’m pragmatic about revisions and do what I’m asked to do.  If my editor doesn’t get it, then I guess the readers won’t either, even if it does seem obvious to me. 

She also commented that I’d thrown away the declaration scene where George tells Frith he loves her, and when I read it again, this was so true I winced.  Talk about being in a hurry to get to the end!  So I beefed that up, too, and made one or two other changes. 

It made for a couple of afternoons’ work, but after getting it last thing on Friday night, I was able to return it first thing Monday morning -  AND I got to enjoy the weekend too, so it could have been a lot worse.  Fingers crossed that’s number 59 done and dusted.

Now, back to time slip #2 …


  1. Congratulations on getting the revisions done. After following your agonies with the writing of it, I'm looking forward to reading the finished product :)

  2. Thanks, Tora. I feel a little nervous at the idea of anyone reading it at all at the moment, but it'll be ages before it's on sale, by which time I'll no doubt be agonising over another book!

  3. Well done, Jessica. I'm beginning to think we need another word for these books - I'm thinking porcupine. :(

  4. Jessica I look forward to reading this book, I loved Ordinary Girl in a Tiara. I am a BIG fan of your books. I have every ebook title currently available on my nook and kindle. I just finished reading last minute proposal and i'm currently in the midst of reading Working Girl.