I admit it. I unashamedly tweeted a post hoping today’s guest would offer to be part of my Birthday Bash. Yup. I tweeted a post to someone else, but added Ann Aguirre‘s twitter ID, knowing she’d see it in her replies. To be honest, I didn’t expect her to respond so quickly, nor so graciously as she did. You see, I’d won her Blue Diablo earlier in the month and was totally in love with it. I’d seen other writers, editors and reviewers whose opinions I respected talking about it and they all loved it. Boy, were they right. Blue Diablo is now waaay high on my Keeper List, right by my Patricia Brigg’s Mercy Thompson series. (Actually it’s sitting on top the Mercy series right now because keeper shelf is overflowing.)

After reading today’s post, she’ll have an even more special place in my fangrrl heart. Because I feel like she wrote it just for me as I struggle with the next manuscript in the Hauberk Protection series. So, please welcome the very talented, and extremely generous Ann Aguirre. (Oh, and in case you missed my blog about Blue Diablo last week, Ann’s advice on how to pronounce her name is “Ah-GEAR-ay works fine, but if you can roll your “R”s in there a bit, then you’ve got it.”)

Revision Fun

One of the most valuable things I learned on my path as an author was that I didn’t have to do it right the first time. In my less than glorious past, I was a fiddler. I would stop working and edit / tweak / revise while I was still writing, and I would tell myself how terrible this was, how it would never do. My inner critic often killed my ability to finish a book. I don’t remember how I made the breakthrough but at some point, I started telling myself, “Don’t look at it. Don’t think about it. Just finish. When you’re done, you’ll fix everything.”

Those were magical words for me. I felt like I had been given the keys to the castle. Instead of having 12 unfinished books, I finished what I started. Which is beyond awesome. I’ve since refined the whole “permission to suck” thing into a process that works very well. In case you didn’t know, when I’m doing a draft I write 3K a day, five days a week, for six weeks. I don’t work weekends. That time off is important to me, and I try to treat this like a job to make it easier on my family. I lean toward being obsessive, and if they weren’t around to keep me normal, I’d work 12 hour days and go until midnight or later.

To give some insight into the revision process, I thought it might be fun to ask some other authors for some anecdotes. And here they are:

Elaine Corvidae: Revision note: “Something happens, and they win.” How’s that for useless?

Lisa Iriarte: “Cherubs don’t have erect penises. Make it a gargoyle.”

Amie Stuart: “Write Sex Scene Later.”

Jeri Smith-Ready:

1. As we pass a [thing], Shane says, “I remember when that was [something else, or he recalls some historical event. It would be cool if it was an improvement, like the city is being slowly revitalized, a reversal of the trend he saw in his lifetime. Research!].”

2. With an enormous struggle—it’s like putting a condom on a [zucchini]—we get him folded inside the garment bag.

3. I unzip the garment bag in one long, fast stroke, and Shane tumbles out, gasping and sweat-soaked, like [something out of a science fiction movie—{{specific, I don’t want to mention Han Solo/carbonite again].

4. A knock on the door. It’s a knock in the same way that a [insert joke—something small-subset is a something large of set]. The pounding makes the walls shake.

5. Gwen chokes on her mashed potatoes to the point where—swear to God—it comes out her nose. [{{maybe not]

6. Elizabeth’s condo is dark and dusty, but otherwise just as I remember it—neat and tastefully furnished. [rewrite—she can’t see it if it’s dark].

7. “Ned had them both listed as [Cool Cryptic name], but your detective couldn’t track down addresses associated with them using the resources at his disposal.”

8. I hold up the teddy bear [go back and put in teddy bear]

9. She gives me directions as I jog through the silent back alleys. Most of the shops are closed and silent, but their cheery Christmas displays [um, in the alley?] all look like they’re watching me.

10. My cell phone rings. He steps back and stares at me like I just dropped a bag of dog shit on a picnic table [change this]. (I like this one!)

11. If we were able to trace it back to something big, something national, something that taps into the culture wars, it could raise our profile to the point where we could not just survive, but thrive. [{rewrite, lame]

12. “Does Franklin know about this? Our advertisers are going to have a [shit fit ??do people still say that?].”

13. Within a few seconds all of the guards have been disarmed and dispatched by the vampires. [need more description here, gorier—they tear out these fuckers’ throats and throw body parts at the others]

Elle Amery: I have this Post-it prominently placed on my computer screen: “Don’t ever forget – PUBIC is a vastly different word than PUBLIC”.

Craig Faustus Buck: “Unfuckup.”

Hope you’ve enjoyed your glimpse at what goes on behind the scenes. Happy birthday, Leah!

Ann will send one lucky commenter a signed copy of Blue Diablo (What? Did you think I was going to part with my copy? No way!) If you’re an author, feel free to share a revision anecdote of your own; if you’re not an author, you can still comment on the crazy process authors use. Either way, if you comment you’ll be eligible to win. Me? I’m heading off to find a copy of Grimspace, the first in her Jax series.

And may I just say as you picture me doing the “Wayne’s World” bow (created by another Canuck, Mike Myers) … I’m not worthy … (Hey, it’s Canada Day, did you really think I’d let a chance to give a plug to a fellow Canuck pass?)

*Photo credit by Andrea V.G. Aguirre

**edited** Right after she sent me this post yesterday, there was an emergency in Ann’s family, so she may not be popping in to say hi today. Let’s send her our best wishes and prayers …

Ann Aguirre’s Revision Fun
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44 thoughts on “Ann Aguirre’s Revision Fun

  • July 1, 2009 at 5:17 am

    Ann, I definitely enjoyed those glimpses! Thanks for sharing them! And sending prayers for your family–take care!

  • July 1, 2009 at 5:58 am

    After reading what authors go through to write their stories, I know I will never be one. I'll just enjoy their worlds they create. Thanks for the contest. Hope everything is ok with your family. Have a great day.

  • July 1, 2009 at 6:13 am

    I'm not a writer, but as a reader, I really enjoy reading about the background process the author goes through to get that book into my hands.

  • July 1, 2009 at 6:33 am

    Hi! Great post!
    Hope everything is OK with your family…

  • July 1, 2009 at 6:54 am

    Oh, Leah, that was a great post. Thanks, Ann. I'm entered several places, hope I win a copy of Blue Diablo but if not, I'll pick it up SOON.

    Leah, I think you'll remember this one in our revisions. Don't remember from my OTHR…
    MD: Describing how ready he was to make love, 'his 'p**** leapt from cover'.
    LB's comment: LMAO, Sorry, my own personal chuckle here – for some reason I heard Margie saying “Flying body part” … don’t change, but I had to laugh.

    I absolutely couldn't believe I'd written it. And I did change it.

  • July 1, 2009 at 7:01 am

    Oh, I just realized you'd said leave it. It's so funny, I may have to.

  • July 1, 2009 at 7:32 am

    First off…. Ann my condolenses to you and your family. We who love you and your work will wait until you feel comfortable to return to the cyber world. Take this time to be with those YOU love and embrace the love within reach.
    I have Blue Diablo…. it is on the keeper shelf. Unfortunatly for me I have yet to read it as it came in at a busy time. Soon very soon I promise. I love your comments from other authors…. I know Jeri so those in particular grabbed me….
    Leah and others…. Happy Canada Day…. I have this book so omit me from todays draw…

  • July 1, 2009 at 7:34 am

    Great post. Ann, I hope everything is okay with your family. You have my best wishes and prayers.

  • July 1, 2009 at 7:38 am

    Marley – I'd forgotten that one, but I'm chuckling again about it. I still think it makes it sound like his, um, member flies around unimpeded.

    HV – if I left you, today would probably be the day Random would like you 😉

  • July 1, 2009 at 7:54 am

    Great post. I enjoyed the glimpse into the writing process. I have wanderlust and am waiting till I get Grimspace so I can start the Jax series. I've heard so many good things about the series. Best wishes to you and your family.

  • July 1, 2009 at 8:04 am

    Hope everything is okay, Ann!

    The behind the scenes stuff is pretty funny. lol.

  • July 1, 2009 at 8:07 am

    Hope everything is okay for you Ann.

    Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your writing world.

    Blue Diablo — love that title.

  • July 1, 2009 at 8:18 am

    Great post Leah!

    Thank you Ann for your insight. Hope everything goes well for your emergency. I haven't picked up Blue Diablo YET. But it's on my to get list from Leah's recommendation. Can't wait!

    And yes, people still do say shit fit. It's popular aroung the Real Job for me.

  • July 1, 2009 at 8:28 am

    It's interesting to see how an author's writing process is.

    janie1215 AT excite DOT com

  • July 1, 2009 at 8:31 am

    Hi everyone. Thanks so much for the good thoughts and vibes and prayers. We're doing ok. My husband's grandmother passed away, and he's gone to the funeral in Monterrey. I am holding down the home front today with the small human male.

  • July 1, 2009 at 8:33 am

    That was a great post, Ann. Hope everything is okay at home, as well.

  • July 1, 2009 at 9:06 am

    I don't think I could ever write a book. I don't have the patience. lol
    Blue Diablo was a great book. And, please don't enter me in this contest, as I already have this one 😀

  • July 1, 2009 at 9:11 am

    Great post!

  • July 1, 2009 at 9:14 am

    Enjoyed reading the comments and the information about revision.
    I am always looking for different authors to read and have put Blue Diablo on my TBR list

  • July 1, 2009 at 9:34 am

    This was a great post, very interesting and amusing too.

    And this looks like another book to put on my TBR list too!!

    All the best to you and your family.


  • July 1, 2009 at 9:41 am

    Hey Leah & Ann,
    I loved this post about the writing process. I am not a writer, but an avid reader and always find it fascinating how an idea becomes a story.

    I would love to win Blue Diablo. Heard a lot of good things about it!

  • July 1, 2009 at 10:18 am

    LOL Those glimpses are hysterical.

    I, too, am one of those people who tinker while writing and I often look back at my first drafts, all hand written, and cringe at the number of lines that are crossed through because I changed my mind while writing. I try to tell myself it's okay to mess up and fix later, but it's an ongoing process for me.

    I'm definitely sending good wishes Ann's way and her family will be in my prayers.

  • July 1, 2009 at 10:36 am

    Thanks for the post Ann. Its amazing for us readers to read what it takes for you wonderful authors to produce such wonderful books for us to read.
    Best wishes for you and your family. Take Care.

  • July 1, 2009 at 10:40 am

    My synopses are often full of phrases like "complications ensue" and "they triumph over their enemies" because I don't know what's really gonna happen until I write it.

  • July 1, 2009 at 10:44 am

    Two of my favorite people in one spot.

    You guys rock.

    (I've posted about this at Win a Book. Even if you hadn't sent the link, but thanks for doing that. It's MUCH appreciated!)

  • July 1, 2009 at 11:35 am

    Really enjoyed this post and hope everything is ok with Ann!

  • July 1, 2009 at 11:51 am

    Don't put me down for the contest. Just wanted to agree that Blue Diablo is awesome, and you are in for a treat with her other series!

  • July 1, 2009 at 11:56 am

    I have been drooling over this book for a while and hearing wonderful things about it!

    My major revision issue is still an OVER abundance of OVER used words OVER and OVER again.


  • July 1, 2009 at 11:59 am

    Ann, enjoyed the author comments in your post. Sorry to hear of your difficulties, prayers and good wishes to you. Looking forward to reading Blue Diablo soon. And yes after 4 years of Spanish in school I can roll my r's.

  • July 1, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    Hi Ann,
    I enjoyed your post. Hope all is well.

  • July 1, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    Hi Leah, my TRW sister!
    Hi Ann, keeper of the keys to the 'finisihing the ms'castle!

    I loved those revision notes. I'll never look at a zucchini the same again. And my variation of the 'pubic/public' warning story would be 'immoral/immortal'.

    No need to enter my name – I'm a third of the way into 'Blue Diablo' right now (really enjoying it!) and 'Wanderlust' is waiting on the night table.

    Hoping your emergency resolves itself in a benign way.

  • July 1, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    I enjoy reading about the revision process. ((HUGS)) to Ann.

  • July 1, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    The revision process is very interesting. I used to dream of being a writer as a child and as I get older and get to know myself better, I know that I don't have the patience. I'm an instant gratification kind of girl. I'm also not good at revising and editing, rough drafts and all that jazz. Even my thesis was pretty much the same at the final draft as it was in the beginning.

    Sending thoughts and prayers to your family.

    melacan at hotmail dot com

  • July 1, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    Great post. With all an author has to go through to be published, I know I could never write a book!

  • July 1, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    Those were certainly worth a chuckle! I'm sorry to hear of your loss. My prayers go to your family.

  • July 1, 2009 at 8:00 pm

    Hilarious! Yet another reason that Jeri Smith-Ready is beyond awesome 🙂

  • July 1, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    No need to enter me since I have the book.
    I just found this nice site and bday bash. Nice

    And my condolences to Ann and her family

  • July 1, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    lol some of the revsvion process seems funny i have a greater respect for authors because that would vbe tedious i see this book in the store often is on my to be read and buy list hopefully someday crossess fingers please enter me in the contest

  • July 1, 2009 at 11:33 pm

    Hi Ann~

    I hope that everything is okay.

    I love reading about the behind the scenes things. As I have no talent, it is very interesting to hear about what authors thinking.

  • July 2, 2009 at 12:24 am

    Having to get 300 plus pages out of creative mind seems a miracle with so much back talk happening. Always love a peek behind the curtain. Thank you for sharing.

  • July 2, 2009 at 2:46 am

    Thanks for sharing!

    Sending best wishes!

  • July 3, 2009 at 9:17 am

    Sending a virtual hug to Ann.

  • July 3, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    My sister is my editor – although I grill her about leaving useful, detailed notes!


Comments are closed.