Revising on the Porch

porch revisionA few readers have asked me what’s happening with my work-in-progress, The Lies We Told, due to be published next June, so I’m here with an update. I’ve shared with you the synopsis process, the outline process, the writing process, the revising process and the torturous rush-to-deadline process. That was followed by two weeks of waiting as my editor and agent read the manuscript. Now I’ve received the feedback from both of them, and I begin revising again.

Both my agent and editor loved the book, and that’s excellent news. You never know if you’ve done good work until someone other than your very biased self tells you so, so I was relieved. Of course they each had ideas to share. My editor’s suggestions relate to one of the story threads. The book is about two sisters, Rebecca and Maya. Without giving anything away, I can tell you that they are in different locations doing different things, so their stories are, obviously, very different. Maya’s story is Gripping, with a capital G. My editor had some ideas on how to make Rebecca’s gripping storyline also worthy of a capital letter.  My agent, on the other hand, focused more on Maya’s thread, suggesting that I nudge her character a bit more in one particular direction.

As I’ve mentioned before, I usually need about 24 hours to digest editorial suggestions and get over my knee jerk defensiveness to them. That didn’t happen this time. I could see both my editor’s and agent’s ideas were good ones right away and now I’m happily toying with ways to make the changes. It helps that the weather is fabulous, and I’m alternating my workspace between Starbucks and the porch. Revisions are due September 28th. Unfortunately, I have two trips between now and then, so I’ll have to cram a lot of work into a few days, but that’s what makes the life of a writer exciting!

One of my fellow writers asked this question on Facebook today: If you could be anywhere, doing anything, where would you be and what would you be doing? I responded that I’d be on my porch, writing.

Am I lucky or what?


  1. Margo on September 4, 2009 at 10:35 am

    Yes Diane, you are very, very lucky!!…you have a passionate career that you love and when asked what you would rather be doing, ‘I’d be on my porch, writing’, I had to smile. It’s obvious there’s nothing you would rather do and I’m sure that’s one of the main reasons your novels are so incredible…through your voice, the characters speak to us. (-O:

  2. Diane Chamberlain on September 4, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    Margo, I’ve missed your comments recently! I hope you’ve been away doing something fun and wonderful. I know that, as an artist, you understand how lucky we are to get to do what we love.

  3. Margo on September 4, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    Diane, we are remodeling our home & I’ve been so swamped with office work and with painting art commissions, I’ve hardly had time to breath…also, I had problems getting my comments to post a few days back…decided to try again this a.m. and it worked!…the remodeling is fun but omigosh, we are running around like crazy…I can’t wait till it’s done…should be finished by end of next week, I hope.
    I do understand how fortunate we are to do what we love (and get paid for it too!!)…I feel lucky everyday.
    When creating is a passion I find it hard to stop and I’m sure you’re that way too…even with commission work I still make time to paint what ‘I’ want too and I have quite a project going on right now in my studio.

  4. brenda on September 4, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    Glad to see the BLOG is working again.
    I now understand the “thing” with titles. I am reading a book by an author I really like-I can’t stand the title…I hoped that would not be a “warning” but so far the book is failing also. I don’t know what is going on.
    On the other hand, am reading that second mystery by Tana French-loved the first one-hope this one is just as great…

  5. Diane Chamberlain on September 4, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    Margo, I don’t envy you the remodeling, but the result will be worth it, I’m sure. Brenda, I’ve heard the second French novel is even better than the first (I had an issue with the first…Excellent book, but I still had an issue). I don’t think you can judge a book by the title, though, do you really? I’m reading RUN by Ann Patchett. Hate the title; love the book. You never know!

  6. Gina on September 5, 2009 at 9:21 am

    I’m almost finished with In The Woods. I have to say.. it’s okay, but not great. Maybe by the ending, I’ll change my mind. I just don’t see what all the hype is about right now. I will probably read the second one only because I understand it’s bettr than the first one.

    Oh, Diane, I had a hard time getting into Run. I hope you like it.

    Hope you don’t have too, too many revisions Diane. That way maybe you can take a short break before diving into writing another one. You work so hard!

    *waves to Margo and Brenda*

    • Diane Chamberlain on September 5, 2009 at 10:54 am

      Gina, I loved the writing in In The Woods, but if you don’t like it now, you’ll probably hate it when you finish it, sorry to say. I’m looking forward to The Likeness, though, which I believe will be more satisfying in addition to the good writing. I’m adoring Run. I love Patchett’s Bel Canto. I can see how those books would not be for every reader, though. They’re not exactly escape reading. As I read, I’m already savoring the idea of re-reading it, so you know I love it.

      As for revisions, in theory there are not “too many,” but in reality, there is a lot of additional writing I’ll have to do, and a bit of a balancing act in terms of character motivation. All part of the puzzle, and I do love a good puzzle!

  7. brenda on September 5, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    I loved IN THE WOODS> I am reading THE LIKENESS this weekend as I do chores…I am not sure yet-too early.
    I finished the book that I was reading…the voice of the teenage girl was horrible…horrible…(THANK GOODNESS you got it right, Diane…) The book was my least favorite from the author…a lot of hype but did not follow through. I was so disappointed that I read to the end-no resolution with some of the characters…I almost wept because of that. This is a book that I can’t rec. but because I love the author will refrain from writing the name…Another case of “get it finished and released”…

  8. brenda on September 5, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    Gina-waves back to you…I am a mystery buff-that is why I loved the book-also I love reading about Ireland…

  9. brenda on September 5, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    Diane, Def. can’t judge book by title…but that one I could have. Please-I am intrigued…email me the issue with the first French book…

  10. Ann on September 5, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    Diane, I am intrigued also. I would love to know your issue with In The Woods. I am looking forward to The Likeness. I am reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and after wondering if I would like it at first – I am loving it at this point.

  11. Diane Chamberlain on September 5, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    Can’t tell my issue with In the Woods, Ann, because it’s a spoiler. If you’ve read it, you probably know because it’s the issue many people have with the book. Going to have to add TGWTDT to my to-be-read stack!

  12. brenda on September 5, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    Ann-I agree with Diane-if her idea is the same as mine…however, I am reading book two…I appreciate Diane writing about this author…I like mysteries.

  13. Margo on September 6, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    ‘Wave and Hi’ back to you Gina!!…I have both of French’s books and look forward to reading them…thx everyone for not spoiling anything about the books…I like being surprised. Brenda, if you loved them I probably will too since we have similar tastes in books (except for the Twilight series LOL!!)
    A sales person recommended THE GIRL WITH DRAGON TATOO so I will also read that one.
    Diane, I know I’m going to be really happy once this remodel is done…I can see some of the results already and love it…it’s definitely a pain to move around right now tho…but definitely worth it, yes.

  14. brenda on September 6, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    I liked the second French book better than the first, but you must read them in order…they are continued…I liked both of them…BUT I LOVE MYSTERIES…

  15. Margo on September 6, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    I’ll take your advise Brenda and read them in order.
    Just finished SO HAPPY TOGETHER which I loved…am planning on starting THE LAND OF MANGO SUNSETS next.

  16. brenda on September 6, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    Help…One of my favorite series: Joanne Dobson-books about English Professor…however, I read a series similar to hers about another English professor…but can’t remember the author’s name-anyone out there know of a series like that??? I buy Dobson’s books and reread them…but I read the others from the library…

  17. Tabetha on September 12, 2009 at 11:19 am

    I just read your comments about Tana French’s books…read both…I really enjoyed them but found In The Woods sort of left up in the air and swore I had to have missed something! I actually reread the last couple chapters a couple times and checked out blogs to see how others had interpreted the ending. There are hints to let you put things together though and sometimes coming up with your on conclusion is okay too! The Likeness was a great read to with a very different story line…..I hear there is a third book in the works that may return to complete the In the Woods story????

    • Diane Chamberlain on September 12, 2009 at 5:43 pm

      Tabetha, thanks for sharing your take on In the Woods. Very interesting! I love the idea of a third book possibly solving that mystery. Intriguing. I’m looking forward to reading The Likeness.

Leave a Comment