Deborah Armstrong


Deborah's Diary

So here it is – my blog for the day. I sent my manuscript to my editor today. I think it’s the seventh revision. I have three printed editions on my bookshelf. The red binder reads VERY FIRST TRY. This is the version I wrote with Tiegan and Caitlin in mind. I remember when I got the courage to toss the binder on Tiegan’s bed at bedtime and suggested she might want to have a look inside. I also remember Caitlin coming home from school and looking for this binder, hoping there would be new pages added to it for her to read. This binder is 420 pages long with two endings. My girls got to pick their favourite ending.

I remember how I came up with the ending that they didn’t like. I was at a friend’s father’s funeral. I was crying and Philip thought I’d lost it because I didn’t know the man and it really wasn’t an emotional service. I had to tell him that I had just realized that I had to kill off my hero. It was the only way to end the story and that’s why I was crying. I think Philip thought I’d really lost my sanity by then. Don’t worry, I didn’t kill off my hero. My girls cried too much when they read that ending and told me I just couldn’t do that to Quinn. And so began Part Two.

The black binder on my bookshelf reads FIRST EDITION FOREVER LOVE AND LOVE’S PROMISE. The page count for this is 763. This is the one I sent to friends and family. If you didn’t get this, please don’t be offended. The story has changed. Just a little bit. Thank you to those who did read it for me and offered your opinions.

My purple binder is the version I planned on self-publishing, SUBMITTED VERSION FOREVER LOVE. It is only Part One and is 570 pages and 126,000 words. This is the version I sent to an editor for evaluation in August. She liked the story and had great things to say about it, but the story was too long. I had to make cuts, drastic cuts. When I made the cuts, I had to change the story. By the time I was finished I was down to 109,000 words, This is an acceptable word count for chick lit and romance novels. The standard for Harlequin novels is around 50,000 – 60,000.

On my laptop and my desktop I have other versions of the manuscript saved. They are categorized by the date or by the chapter. Sometimes I forgot how I saved a day’s work and would spend a frantic fifteen or twenty minutes entering searches for various words I knew I had used in order to find a particular chapter. From now on everything is saved to a USB stick and a folder for the day.

I have also uploaded fifteen chapters to a website called This is a website for authors, published or not, to share their work with others. I was doing quite well on this site. I had made it to the top 200 out of a few thousand. Then before I knew it I had plummeted down to the 600’s. Now, after taking my book off the site while I updated it, I am in the 800 level. My goal is to get back up there. The top five books at the end of each month are evaluated by Harper Collins. If they are good enough, Harper Collins publishes them. It takes a minimum of a year to make it up through the ranks. Rankings can fluctuate daily.

So what happens next? I ignore Part One and read through Part Two again. I’ll have to make sure that the changes I made in Part One are carried through to Part Two because I know all of you will notice if I’ve made a mistake. So here we go again. Revision. Revision. Revision.

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