Thursday, March 7, 2024

Talkshow Thursday: A Guest Post with Donna Wichelman

How A Rewrite of Your Manuscript 
Can Turn Your WIP into an A+ Novel 
by Donna Wichelman

In December, I received my first contract from a traditional publisher after three years of pitching my manuscript to agents and publishers. The book will come out in December 2024.

However, before I was offered a contract, two agents asked for a Rewrite and Resubmit (aka R& R) of the first chapters. I had never heard of an R&R the first time an agent asked for one, but I soon learned that it meant the agent had seen something worthy in my writing and liked my story, but they wanted a rewrite to enhance the story. In both cases, I strived for what they suggested would improve the manuscript but missed the mark.

Of course, I was disappointed the agents chose not to offer me a contract. But looking back at the process, I’m incredibly grateful for their insights. Last August, I attended the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) Conference in St. Louis, Missouri. One of the workshops was appropriately titled “The Rewrite,” presented by NYT Best Selling author Rachel Hauck.

Paraphrasing Rachel, she said, “No matter whether you are a seasoned writer or a novice trying to getyour first contract, you will not escape the inevitable rewrite.” She held up the first page from one of her published manuscripts. It contained red editing marks throughout—rewrites the publisher wanted her to make before the book went to press.

It takes a humble and teachable spirit to become a writer of excellence. But followers of Christ know Scripture is replete with commands like we read in 1 Peter 5:6, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time …” (NASB).

Agents and editors are not gods, but they have the wisdom, knowledge, and experience to know what
Photo: Pixabay/reenablack
transforms our manuscripts into works of excellence. Sometimes, our pride can get in the way of allowing them to help us envision what can turn an A- manuscript into an A+.

For those of us working with a traditional publisher, it’s important to listen to our editors and agents to ensure our work is the best possible. If we are Christ’s followers, we should also aspire to represent Him with excellence. As Jesus said in Matthew 10:24 – 25, “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. It is enough for the disciple that he becomes like his teacher …” (NASB).

A Rewritten Excerpt from my historical romance A Song of Deliverance

Stefan peered into her determined face and immediately adopted a languid pose, his lips slowly curving into a smile. “How do you do that?”
“Do what?”

“Remain so sanguine when the world around you is crashing before your eyes.”

“Ach, you give me more credit than I deserve, Mr. Maier. As you know, life has not always doled out circumstances in my favor.” Anna peered off to the western mountain denuded of trees. “The last year has tested the strength of my fortitude, and there have been plenty of times I would have given in to despair, or worse, to have become a bitter soul.”

“But you didn’t.” He was amazed she hadn’t, considering how he had initially treated her, evicting her from the miner’s cottage without mercy.

“Only by the grace of God.” A soft glow entered Anna’s eyes as she gazed at him. “If you’d have told me a month ago that I would have to face life here on my own without an uncle to support me and only strangers to comfort me, I would have run to my Irish hills a coward. But God didn’t afford me the luxury of knowing. And so, here I am, weak as my faith is, having to trust that God’s grace is sufficient for my daily needs and catching glimmers of hope in the journey whose end is still unknown.”
“All aboard for the stagecoach to Georgetown.”

Stefan twisted his head toward the driver. People were gathering around the door. When he’d first seen Anna, he had preferred not to face her. Now, there was nothing he wanted more—more time to talk, more time to gaze into eyes that spoke light and truth into his heart, and he was struck by how, in such a short time, she had utterly changed his life.

A Song of Deliverance Publishing Date: December 2024, Pre-Orders in November

Photo: Pixabay/
Ondrej Sponiar
Born into the Irish system of land-holding that favors the moneyed class, Anna Sullivan has no dowry and no chance of marrying the man she loves. Poor and heartbroken, she flees Ireland to tend to Uncle Liam’s house in Colorado and take on her deceased aunt’s sewing business.

But when Anna arrives in Georgetown, she discovers a mine disaster at the Singing Silver Mine has killed her uncle. Orphaned and destitute again, she gathers her faith, courage, and ingenuity to establish a life in the community. Only one person stands in her way—the mine’s owner.

A wealthy, grief-stricken widower of European nobility, Stefan Maier threw his energies into making his mark as a silver mining baron in Colorado when his wife and child died at sea, emigrating to America. Now, everyone blames him for the mine disaster that killed nine men. But how does he convince the lovely and opinionated Irish woman of his innocence?

Will Anna’s heart soften towards Stefan? Will Stefan prove himself worthy of Anna’s affection? Each will have to risk everything to attain what they want and need most—love.

About Donna:

Donna worked as a communications professional before turning to full-time writing. Her short stories, essays, and articles have appeared in various inspirational publications. She has two contemporary suspense novels in her Waldensian Series, Light Out of Darkness and Undaunted Valor on Her historical romance, A Song of Deliverance, will come out in December, published by Scrivenings Press. She is also working on a World War Two historical slip-time project set in Libourne, France.

Weaving history and faith into stories of intrigue and redemption grew out of her love of history and English literature as a young adult while attending the United World College of the Atlantic--an international college in Wales, U.K. She loves to explore peoples and cultures of the world and enjoys developing plots that show how God’s love abounds even in the profoundly difficult circumstances of our lives. Her stories reflect the hunger in all of us for love, forgiveness, and redemption in a world that often withholds second chances.

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