May 21, 2012

Meradeth Houston and Colors Like Memories

Meradeth's first book is OUT! Yay!! And she's hopping around the blogosphere this month telling as many people as she can. This lady is organized - her bio, photo and links are below her helpful post on revision. Questions for her? Post them in the comments.
Her blurb: Julia has a secret: she killed the guy she loved. It was an accident—sort of. 

Julia is a Sary, the soul of a child who died before taking her first breath. Without this 'breath of life' she and others like her must help those on the verge of suicide. It's a job Julia used to enjoy, until the accident that claimed her boyfriend’s life—an accident she knows was her fault. If living with the guilt weren't enough, she's now assigned to help a girl dealing with the loss of her mother, something Julia's not exactly the best role model for. If she can't figure out a way to help her, Julia's going to lose her position in the Sary, something she swore to her boyfriend would never happen.

Revision Time!
Thanks so much for hosting me, Melodie! And before I forget, I have a contest running for my blog tour—all commentors are entered into a drawing for two copies of my book, and one person will win a $25 gift card to Amazon or Barnes & Noble. There are more details on my home blog, if you want to check it out!
Okay, so today I thought I’d talk a little bit about revisions of a different sort: the kind you get from an editor, once you’ve sold your book and all that fun stuff :) Do keep in mind that every house, and every editor, has a different method, but before I went into this process I wasn’t totally sure what to expect, so maybe shedding a little light on the subject might help!
MuseItUp is a small ebook house, and when they acquired my book I was assigned an editor (bigger houses will have an acquiring editor). This is the person who’s going to go through your book and beat it into shape. I’ll admit, I was totally nervous when I was sent my first round of revisions—I’d edited Colors Like Memories to within an inch of its life on my own and through my critique group. But what would a professional editor have to say? Well, it turns out, LOTS. There were comments on my commas (which I swear I’ll never fully master), tenses (how did I manage to screw that up?), and mostly on overall things (like, how can this person have kids? Can I build this scene up more? I’m jumping heads in certain places—stuff like that).
My number one piece of advice for dealing with all of this is learn how to use track-changes in MS Word. If you don’t already know all the tips and tricks to this awesome tool, I highly recommend becoming an expert. There are bunches of tutorials online, and the best practice is using it yourself. It’s fun, if a little frustrating at first, and wow does it make things easier!
I went through each of the comments my editor made and created a Plan of Attack. It wasn’t possible to do everything at once, and I would have been massively overwhelmed if I’d tried. So I broke it down into smaller chunks, and this proved to be super useful to me. Everyone works differently, but I’d recommend making a similar list if you’re facing lots of revisions. A check-off box is also highly motivational—there’s nothing better than getting to mark something as Done!
Once done with everything that had been suggested, I sent my revisions back. This is where I got nervous again—what if she didn’t like what I’d done? I’d made a few other small changes on my own, and I worried that she would think they were rubbish. (Okay, clearly I worry a lot!) Anyhow, it was fine. But I did get another copy of my book back, with more revisions to make. This is normal, or so I’m told :) Don’t expect to have everything done in one round. Mentally, this also makes things easier, I think, because you don’t have to stress out so much on that first round.
Anyhow, after two rounds, my book was declared ready for copy-edits. That’s a whole other story… But hopefully this is helpful if you’re wondering what to expect from your editor, and looking to start some revisions on your own work!
Inquiring minds want to know: do you use track-changes? What’s your favorite aspect of it?
A bit about Meradeth Houston:
Meradeth’s never been a big fan of talking about herself, but if you really want to know, here are some random tidbits about her:

She’s a Northern California girl. This generally means she talks too fast and use "like" a lot.
When she’s not writing, she’s sequencing dead people’s DNA. For fun!
She’s been writing since she was 11 years old. It's her hobby, her passion, and she’s so happy to get to share her work!
If she could have a super-power, it would totally be flying. Which is a little strange, because she’s terrified of heights.


Meradeth Houston said...

Thanks so much for hosting me Melody! I'm spreading the word about your post :)

Jaye Robin Brown said...

I've often wondered that. We put so much work into our manuscripts at the pre-purchased stage that it amazes me to hear about huge edits. What? How? Why? I'm 75% through with your book and loving it!

Lisa Regan said...

Such a timely post for me since I am awaiting my first round of edits! This was very useful to me! Meradeth's book sounds fabulous too! Going on my TBR list. Wishing her much success!!!

Lynn Proctor said...

such a great help and i loved the part you shared

Andrew Leon said...

Hmm... I am no fan of editing. Well, I'm no fan of editing my own stuff. I don't mind doing it to other people.

Faith Hope and Cherrytea said...

i have learned sooo much from you on the whole writing effort, Meradeth! although it all sounds quite daunting i must admit.. glad you persevered!
faithhopecherrytea at*gmail.*com
every good wish for cont'd success..!