Some of you already know my friend Lucienne Diver, who is both an author and one of the agents at The Knight Agency. Needless to say, she's a very busy woman, but she was kind enough to come share her experiences with revisions, and give you a sneak peek at her new book, THE COUNTDOWN CLUB. (Hint: It sounds amazing.) Be sure to let us know what you think (either about revision, or the book, or both) in the comments! Lucienne will be giving away a copy of the book to TWO lucky commenters.
Take it away, Lucienne!
My Prolonged Process
So, the demented
little DJ in my head wants to rewrite songs from musicals today rather than be
productive. For example, “How Do you Solve a Problem Like Maria?” from The Sound of Music:
“How do you solve a problem in revisions?
How do you catch a flaw and pin it down?”
It’s a curse. If only I could rewrite
books with the ease of lyrics. Unfortunately, I have a horrible love/hate
relationship with revisions. I adore first drafts – writing practically stream
of consciousness, having a plan, but not knowing exactly how I’m going to
execute it. You see, I was an inveterate pantser (a writer who flies by the
seat of her pants, winging it) until I started writing mystery/suspense…and
then my wings needed a lot more bolstering to get me off the ground. With my
first YA suspense, FAULTLINES, I
created a murder board, just like you see in all of those television shows—The Closer,
Major Crimes, Without a Trace, Castle, and I’m sure a million more. It had
the suspects, clues as to motive, means and opportunity, timelines, connections
and all that jazz. It still didn’t quite tell me how I was going to weave these
into the storyline. For that I drafted. And redrafted. And drafted again. I
wish I could say that I learned from the experience and that my novels are now
tightly plotted and then swiftly and seamlessly executed, but that would be a
can get away with calling myself a plotser now (half plotter, half pantser),
but that might be overselling things. What I am is willing to make mistakes and
go over and over and over and over my work ad infinitum until it’s really there. Or at least, so I think. When I
turn my novel over to my critique partner or readers, it’s absolutely as good
as I can get it at that moment. I’m proud of the bright, shiny work I’ve done.
Otherwise, I’d never let anyone see it.
And then they burst my bubble.
All for the best. They make me work.
Spot flaws I secretly suspected were there but was hoping no one would notice.
Suggest fixes or improvements I never even considered. Or in some cases, cheer
me on and give me the confidence to keep going. They make me better.
I make all the improvements, embarrassed
that anyone ever saw the manuscript in the condition it was in, but I soldier
on. I whip it into shape, and send it off to my agent, cross my fingers and
toes and hope she’ll get back to me before I lose all circulation in them.
And receive another set of notes.
Then, after those are handled and the
manuscript is absolutely amazing, it goes out on submission…and perhaps there
will be further suggestions, like a revise and resubmit from an editor. Or
perhaps someone loves it and buys it and gives it a good home. But, of course,
there will be more edits—content edits, line edits, copyedits.
So what am I saying here? That I’m a
slow learner? That it takes a village? Well, no, and yes. This is just my
process, and I’m willing to put in the work, as aggravating as it sometimes is,
making every draft better and better until I hit best. (Always with the realization that I could tinker until I die
and still never reach perfection.)
I guess this has been on my mind a lot
lately, because, as some of you may know, I’m an agent as well as a writer, and
I represent over forty authors, which means I’m always offering critiques,
making suggestions, driving my authors—hopefully to greater heights rather than
to madness, but I understand that it can be a fine line! But I understand their
pain first hand. And shared pain is supposed to be lessened, right?
product of Lucienne’s blood, sweat, and tears, THE COUNTDOWN CLUB, is available now! (Barnes &
About the Book:
cleverly plotted, The Countdown Club
is a must read for fans of One of us is Lying.” ⸻Amy Christine Parker, Author of Gated, Astray,
Making her way through high school
in her art geek bubble, Rayna Butler is used to being largely ignored by her
classmates. Sure, she marches to her own beat—her Kool-Aid dyed
hair and her edgy paintings make that perfectly clear. So when she arrives
at school one normal Monday morning and finds a handwritten note in her
backpack that reads “Six days to die,” she’s sure that it’s just a friend
playing a prank on her.
Jack Harkness is one of the
toughest guys in school, a loner hiding his painful home life. When he also receives one of the threatening notes, he doesn’t
take it for anything he can’t handle.
Rayna and Jack soon discover that
even more students have received threatening notes, although each has a
different expiration date. “Six days to die”. . . “Two days to die”. . .
“Twelve days to die”. . . there seems to be no rhyme or reason to it. And none
of the kids appear to have anything in common.
The students take the threats with varying degrees of seriousness . .
. until the first murder. Class salutatorian Liam is the first
to go, when his house mysteriously burns down around him and his
mother as well. Certain that their days are numbered, Rayna and Jack
convince the others to join together to track down the killer before their
time is up.
About the Author:
Lucienne Diver spends her days agenting and plotting
murder. Luckily, she limits the actual execution to fictional characters…so far
as you know. She’s the author of the popular Vamped series of young
adult novels (think Clueless meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer), the
Latter-Day Olympians contemporary fantasy series of myth, magic and
mayhem, and young adult suspense, including FAULTLINES, also from Bella Rosa
Books. Her short stories have been included in the STRIP-MAULED and FANGS
FOR THE MAMMARIES anthologies edited by Esther Friesner for Baen Books, KICKING
IT edited by Faith Hunter and Kalayna Price for Ace, and TRIBULATIONS, a
Rogue Mage anthology, edited by Faith Hunter for Lore Seekers Press.
She lives in Florida with her husband and daughter, the
two sweetest pups in the world, and an overflowing library under the mistaken
impression that death is not allowed to take her until she has read ALL THE
|Lucienne and friend|