After a few difficult days, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ll have to dig back in and take my manuscript though another round of revisions. Just when I was feeling so satisfied after my intensive, 24-7 month of revisions, I may be facing a few months trying to revise and teach and blog all at the same time. Yikes!
So, here’s the story . . . Recently I communicated with a great agent and his staff, and within a week, he gave me feedback on half of my novel. First of all, it was really amazing that I received feedback that fast. That’s a good sign, right? Anyway, he wanted me to tweak it before he would consider representing me. 90% of the tweaks would take me a weekend, perhaps two, to fix . . . except his desire for the voices of my female narrators—two elderly women recounting the story from different perspectives—to be more distinct. The younger versions of themselves, he felt, were well drawn and distinct, but the older voices needed to be more different, making the most of the form and structure of the novel. I thought I had already addressed this issue in my revision this summer, but I’ve come to realize that I need to make the distinction more pronounced.
The problem now, it seems, is how to do that without mucking up the story or making the voice of one of the characters too colloquial or too mannered or just down right phony. Also, I’m intimidated by the amount of time and energy it will take, especially when faced with the beginning of school. When you start revising for voice, you really have to re-write everything that’s narrated in that voice, especially anything reflective. It’s not just a matter of throwing in a word or two. It’s a big undertaking.
However daunting, I am going to do it. If any of you out there have advice to share or have had to deal with a similar experience, I’d love to hear from you. I’d be so thankful to hear what you think.