Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Rewrites, anyone?

A reader recently asked: Have any of you ever gone back to something you previously wrote and tried to rework it?

Excuse me a moment...


Sorry. In a word, YES. :)

I'm not laughing at you, dear reader, I'm laughing at myself. Because oh, this is quite the story with me. Some of you may have already heard this already, if so, forgive me. I forget who I've told and who I have not.

Sevvvvveeeeeerrrrral years ago, before I was published or had an agent, I wrote a romantic suspense. It was the third book I'd ever written. I wrote it, had a paid critique from fab author Susan May Warren at an ACFW conference several years ago, and wow, she gave me fantastic advice! I went home from conference, re-worked it, rewrote it, and thought it was SO much better. I even changed it from first person to third.

I started submitting to agents and getting rejected. But I LOVED this story and refused to give up. Then I got wind that fab author Dee Henderson was offering one-on-one paid mentoring/critique/editing services via her website. My grandma and mother chipped in as an early Christmas gift and bought me so many hours of her time. And man, Dee raked me over the coals in such a fabulous way! She basically told me this plot wasn't working as is and gave me several suggestions on how to take my original idea and make it so much more, so much bigger/deeper/better. I was impressed, to say the least, and of course I took her advice. We emailed a lot for several months and she really helped me dig into the story. That mentoring session was PRICELESS.

So I once again, from scratch, rewrote this story that so many authors had helped me with. I learned more about writing during this process than any conference, workshop, or book could have ever taught me.

Thinking I had a winner at last, I kept submitting, and finally it got the attention of my now-agent, Tamela Hancock Murray. She loved the story and believed in it with me, and signed me based on this novel. :) She shopped it around to no avail, and then we sold my first Love Inspired so my career path/genre changed and here I am now, writing LI's and now YA for Barbour :)

But I never gave up on my romantic suspense. Two years ago, I pitched it at a local conference, and a secular publisher showed interest. I tweaked it significantly based on what they had mentioned. Sent it in. Rejected. Last year, same conference, different publisher, showed interest. Asked to see full proposal. I tweaked it again, back more the way it was. Well they never even sent a rejection! (I took the hint after a year passed and multiple check-in attempts from my agent. lol)

Then my agent heard a well known publisher was looking for romantic suspense, specifically. I once again pulled up my poor manuscript, polished it up AGAIN, and we submitted.

All of this has taught me God had and has a plan. None of that writing, rewriting, rewriting and rewriting was a waste. That story is still not published. LOL! But even if it never makes it to a shelf, it will always hold a special spot in my heart because of the growth associated with it, the milestones marked, the milemarkers passed. Nothing we write is in vain, people. Nothing!

So, you can see why I laughed... =P


  1. Great Story, Betsy! Are you still being considered for the secular romatntic suspense? that would be awesome!!! do you know if you'd be the first to write in both markets?

    Is it common for writers to want to do a certain genre and then be published in a different one? If I remember correctly, Erynn has mentioned she wanted to originally do suspense?

  2. Oh no many Love Inspired authors write for other publishers, and vice versa. :) I'm not paving a new road! But yes I'm assuming its still under consideration and I have plans to pitch it at a local conference here next month as well.

    I don't know about "common" but I'm sure it happens. Starting out I wrote contemporary romance, played around with a YA, wrote women's fiction, a romantic suspense, and then suddenly got published in contemporary romance with LI and then recently a YA in Barbour. So I think it just depends on what doors open and God's timing :)

  3. I meant do you know id you'd the first writing both Christian & secular?

  4. OH! No to that as well. There's a lot of cross over authors out there, usually they use pen names for secular or vice versa so its harder to know. But they're there :)

    And the house that currently is considering it is a Christian house anyway. The secular house I submitted last to never got back with us at all. Boo! At least send me a form letter rejection lol

  5. Got it! I remember hearing once about a male author who's publisher had his use a womans pen name to write romance because a woman would sell better than a man.....except Nicholas Sparks :)

  6. Thank you so much for this post. It's encouraging because my current WIP is in major rework mode!

  7. You can do it Rachelle!! You are never alone. We've all been there and done it at least once ;) If you have any questions please ask!

  8. I love this story!! And keep me posted on the suspense!! :)