As I said last week, I had some revisions to do on a manuscript I'd sent to my agent, the fabulous Laura Bradford. She had some suggestions that she thought would make it better. The first thing I did was send it off to my critiqe partner to get her input. Then I started thinking about it myself. Some of the changes I knew I could do fairly easily - others I needed to think about. So that's what I've been working on this week. I deleted one secondary plot and enhanced another. Ideas kept coming to me and I kept adding them in, and in the end the manuscript is pretty much exactly the same length as it was when I started. I was relieved about that! As for the other problems, I gave them some thought too as I was revising, and came up with a few ideas. I'll see what my crit partner thinks once she's read the manuscript. She did look at it before, but only the first few chapters.
Having someone like Nara to bounce ideas off, to get a second opinion and to get honest feedback is so important. When we started exchanging work three years ago, we were doing line edits and correcting grammar and finding overused words. Now we both are published and that's not the kind of help we need any more - it's deeper things like characterization and conflict and motivation. So many times she's given me good advice about my stories. It's hard when you get so close to your story and your characters that you can't see them clearly any more, and having someone with a bit of distance offer their persepective is invaluable.