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Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Dreaded "Yes... But!" - Revise and Resubmit

When I sent EVEN VILLAINS FALL IN LOVE out I knew I was venturing into foreign territory. I'm not a romance author. EVFiL is not a typical romance story. It's the story about a superhero, and it's about romance. But it isn't a bodice-ripping, heaving bosoms, pants on salute romance.

From day one I knew there would be challenges to finding a perfect fit publisher for my novella. The first two rejections confirmed my worst fears. The first rejection was a quick note saying the publisher didn't take romances with married couples. The second was a personal note from an editor who liked the novella, but didn't feel the novella was "hot" enough for their house.

So I wasn't surprised to see an R&R note in my inbox this morning. I was dreading it.

For the rest of the world R&R means "Rest and Relaxation" in publishing it means "Revise and Resubmit". It means the publishing house (or agent depending on the case) likes the piece enough to consider, but wants some work done before they offer the author a contract. In some cases the offer comes with a contract. "If you are willing to change X to Y and add three thousand more words we can sign a contract."

In whatever form, this is a scary thing.

There are R&R horror stories circling through the Land of Authors. Tales of authors asked to change a character's gender or sexual orientation. Stories of authors asked to add, or subtract, half a novel. In frightening instance the author was asked to rewrite her modern thriller as a Regency Romance (she said no).

I've been chewing my nails and waiting for the R&R to come in asking me to add some heat. Maybe an explicit sex scene or three. I dread those two because they are things I won't do. I'm not comfortable writing explicit sex scenes. For all that I write SFR and enjoy the community of authors the "He inserted Tab A into Slot B" style of romance book has never made me do anything but laugh at how awkward it all sounds.

Romance is a lot more than exchanging bodily fluids and working up a sweat. At least, that's my opinion.

This R&R isn't what I expected. The edits are something I'm willing to do. The editor doesn't want me to change the heat level (thank goodness!). Which means it's a matter of editing, sending the manuscript back, and waiting to hear if anyone will offer a contract rather than an R&R.

Which could really make life interesting...

Where are you with your writing? Have you ever gotten an R&R letter? Are there some changes you just won't make? I'm curious, so let me know.



  1. Always tough. I'm doing edits on an R&R right now. The stress and pressure of it is a lot, but I'm hoping it turns out to be worth it in the end.

  2. There are many, many changes I would never make, not matter how much anyone assured me it "would still be okay."

    I write the way I write for a reason, and I'm not changes the fundamentals of my style or plots for anyone, no matter how renown the agent or mighty the publisher.

    End of discussion.

    Don't get me wrong, though. I am willing to make changes because I know for a fact my writing isn't anywhere close to perfect. I can improve in many places, and if someone sent me an R&R request and told me to back and revise some troublesome things, I probably would without much question.

    It's when you start trying to mess with the core elements of my stories that I'll give an automatic "no."

  3. Nick - I feel the same way, but the edit is one I feel works with the story. It's an expansion, not a cut. I can do that. *I hope*

  4. Good luck! I know how hard it is. It isn't easy for anyone who writes these days.

    However, I'm one of those who will write slot A into slot B stuff, lol.

    I think maybe because of this, I've had ms changes only after I signed a contract and started working with an editor.

  5. I totally get you. I can't write explicit sex either. I giggle too much and find it awkward rather than hot - if I find it awkward, how could the reader get something else. I'm the fade too black or waay too confusing type.

    I would expand on certain things, but I'm not sure I'd be willing to add an extra plot thread from beginning to end. (unless I think it's a smashing idea and slap myself for not thinking of it in the first place)

    I would never change a character gender, sexual orientation, my genre or anything else I built my whole novel on.

  6. Kaye - No pun intended, but some people love Tab A in Slot B Romance. I'm always more interested in the emotional foreplay.

    Stefanie- I have trouble keeping a straight face during a kissing scene. The emotions make sense, but describing it makes me laugh. :o)

  7. Well I am a twitter and you are my first actual tweet and first one to be followed. Don't understand it yet, but hope you got it. congrats on your challenge, I know you can handle it. Looking forward to getting your short story soon as I figure out how you do that. It has been and adventure....

  8. Ric - Ah! I wondered who sent that Tweet. Here's a good primer for using Twitter: http://lianabrooks.blogspot.com/2011/11/how-to-use-twitter.html

  9. Thanks I am working on it. I hesitated to do twitter cause I did not want to be a twit..LOL
    well I thought it was funny. Today I think they call them nerds, but when I was growing up it was twits.

  10. I'm slightly offended by the "tab A into slot B" comment, because though I write sex scenes I don't write those. I don't read anyone that does.

    Yes, there's more to romance than sex, but there's also more to sex than exchanging bodily fluids.

  11. Just to clarify I don't write just sex either. I love emotional development too. I wouldn't like just a sexy story with no plot, story or character development either. I hope I didn't give that impression!

  12. Misa - That only proves that you have better romances published in the UK. The first one I picked up was (unfortunately) from the 1980s, an era when rape equaled romance and it was a Tab A/Slot B romance. There are several authors I can think of who published multiple novels in the 80/90/00 decades who seemed to use the exact same love scene in each of their novels.

    I laughed, and it turned me off of that style of writing. A love scene can be done well, but I find the mechanics bores me. Unless something is added during the scene (which doesn't happen as often as it should) then the point of the scene is ... what? Titillation? Word count? Required Love Scene #3?

    I respect the genre, love the authors, but it isn't what I write. :o)