Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

Revise, Revisit, and Revamp


(Okay, I cheated on the title since revise and revamp are synonyms, but it’s the rule of threes I tell you πŸ˜€ )

I reach over for my coffee, a Kona blend from Hawaii with hints of white chocolate and macadamia nut. The current view from my writing office overlooks bird-of-paradise and hibiscus bushes outside at the feet of papaya trees. I can hear the faint rumble of a waterfall in the distance, behind the sounds of the stream burbling over rocks just outside.

My Muse enters without knocking, as usual. He’s still wearing the Vikings jersey, and well-worn (in every sense of the adjective) jeans. “What’s with the Hawaiian theme?”

“It’s been a good week.”

“Hawaiian good?” He picks up the mug I just set down and sniffs it before sipping. “Hawaiian coffee, too?”

“I figured I’d run with the theme for now.”

He wanders to the window. “You’re not slacking, are you?”

“I’m revising, you know that. Hell, you went all Indiana Jones on my ass and canceled your pub crawl to make sure I dug in.”

He turns from the window and smiles that crooked grin that melts a little something inside. “It worked. Besides, Mae’s got Mr. E on house arrest anyway while she works on book 3.”

I reach for my mug, and realize he’s still got it. I’m going to have to make another pot if he’s gonna bogart my coffee. “That’s my cup.”

“Get a different one. I haven’t had Kona for a while.” He sips my java as he wanders to the wall-sized white board. Frowns. “Where are the new threads?”

“I haven’t worked them through yet. I’m still not sure how to weave them in.”

He takes a marker. “If you’re going to go with the agent’s suggestions–and I strongly recommend it because they make sense–you need to reference the brother’s added thread here,” he makes a note on my timeline, “here, and here. If you work with your victim’s thread,” he takes a different colored marker, “you need to adjust here and here for sure. Probably here as well.” He scribbles something.

I join him at the board. “What on earth does that say?”

He peers at his handiwork, then wipes it off with the side of his fist and rewrites it. “Can you read it now?”

Revenge. “Really? That’s quite the trope. I was going to soften her a bit.”

“But if she’s thinking of payback for what happened …”

“How’s that better than blackmail?”

He finishes the coffee and heads to the coffeemaker for a refill. “It’s the personal connection that counts. Revenge requires it to be more personal. The closer the personal connection between the victim and the antagonist, the higher the stakes. That’s Mystery and Suspense 101. Bonus points if there’s a connection between the protagonist and the antagonist.”

I follow the thread. “I just cut five hundred words, and I still need to cut. How am I supposed to add these without bumping my word count back up? I’ll need to add a scene to make the brother’s thread change work.”

He rests an arm around my shoulders. “No, you won’t, love. Well, maybe. Depends on how you handle it.”

“Any suggestions?”

He squeezes my shoulders. “Lots. Let’s get started.”

Isn’t it funny/aggravating when a what-if question or suggestion makes you realize the story has to include that idea? Like a head-slapping “duh” moment?

Yeah, it’s like that.

Sigh. And after I’ve submitted it to agents. Ugh. At least I haven’t gone too far in the submission process quite yet. Small-ish changes, but they’ll round out a couple threads nicely.

Have a great weekend!



Author: Julie Holmes, author

Pen names: J. M. Holmes, J. M. Goebel A fiction writer since elementary school (many years ago), and NaNoWriMo annual participant for a decade, I've been published in small press magazines such as "Fighting Chance" and "The Galactic Citizen". I write adult mystery with a touch of romance, mystery with extrasensory elements, contemporary fantasy, and epic fantasy, and I'm represented by the fabulous Cynthia Zigmund of Second City Publishing Services. In real life, I am a technical writer with a family of two teens, a wonderful hubby, one cat (what writer doesn't have cats??), two dogs, two chickens, and more chipmunks, squirrels, and rabbits than any garden should have to deal with. My garden, our hobby farm, and Nature's annual seasons are some of my muses.

13 thoughts on “Revise, Revisit, and Revamp

  1. I’m late in checking in (the weekend exploded in a whole bunch of activity I didn’t expect).
    I like to think of those threads that appear suddenly as inspired moments. Of course, it does help to have them happen during the writing process rather than revisions, but I’ve been there too. The exciting thing is, now you can dig in and follow that thread to its conclusion. Usually the words just pour out of me at that point. I have a feeling your muse is going to make certain they do the same for you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I find that just a quick suggestion from someone (CP, writing sister, ?) tends to spawn threads. And the “why the hell didn’t I think of that” realization πŸ˜€ I’m working on fleshing out the threads, and I know once I get them woven into place the story will be stronger. It’s just getting there that can be a challenge πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ha. That comment above by paintdigi is the exact same comment I got. I knew it was a spammy comment. Anyway, 1. My hubs is all about the Vikings, too, being from MN. Congrats on yesterday’s win to your hubs. 2. Kona coffee gives my bff and her hubs the runs, so I just had to chuckle. I’m guessing that’s not the case for you two. 3. Love that your hubs is so helpful! In addition to being supportive. 4. Totally been there with the querying to agents and then realizing a major flaw followed by shame that I’ve basically just burnt those bridges. (Unless, of course, I query again after enough time has past that maybe they won’t remember the first query.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Heh, I thought it was an odd comment. Yay, Vikes! Just hoping they keep going strong through the rest of the season. So often they either start strong and peter out, or start slow and end strong but too far behind to make the playoffs. Too bad about kona. Had it in HI when hubby and I were there many years ago. Love it! Too bad it’s too expensive to get regularly. Might have to go to HI again to have some πŸ˜‰ And yes, that’s the word. Shame. And a desperate hope that I can revised the story, then query again to the agents who requested the full, and I sent to but haven’t heard anything but crickets from. Maybe I can get away with a nudge and a “BTW here it is again, revised”.


  3. Oh those threads! They are maddening, but in a way that’s what makes them worth it – unless you HAVE to include them regardless of how much unraveling it might cause, then they’re probably worth it… hopefully πŸ˜‰ Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I need your muse!! Terrific help and you sound so well organised!! Congratulations on the submission and hope they like the changes. Revenge always plays well! Love your start…I was just relaxing, in calm contemplative mode and enjoying the scenery of your birds, hibiscus and papaya tree! How do you get ANY work done with such wonderful views?πŸ˜€πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL! He’s great, and knows when I need a kick in the arse to get me going πŸ˜€ Yeah, organized? You haven’t seen my real office. Ugh. ‘Course, if I cleaned or organized it, I’d never be able to find anything πŸ™‚

      Have a great rest of your week, Annika! Now I’m going to head back over to your blog and look at your travel pics some more… πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Revisions seem endless, don’t they? Your muse seems to be on a roll. Not giving you any slack. He clearly sees the finish line ahead πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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