Publishing · Travel · Writing

Wrapping up the first revision under contract.

I was so caught up in revising last month that I completely forgot to update after I got home from my research trip!

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Taiwan was amazing. I hadn’t visited since I was 15 years old, and it was so wonderful to walk around in the shoes of my characters and get some primary research done.

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I brought along my computer, so every day after my research adventures I settled down to pound out some writing, try to capture the exact feel and smell and colors.

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The best part of it was that I think it definitely brought me closer to my family. Even with my parents, who I normally chat with on the phone every single day — for the sake of my book and my trip I was often calling them three or four times a day to interview them about their experiences living in Taiwan, or to get their take on a concept or a piece of history. This is truly the “book of my heart” (as Nova Ren Suma would put it) in so many different ways.

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What inspired me to tell this story in the first place was Wai Po, my maternal grandmother, so it was incredible to get to talk to her in person, face to face, to interview her about her childhood and her experiences. She even took us up the mountain to the place where she grew up. My aunts and uncles were a huge help, too — without them there’s no way I could have done such a thorough job with my research. It turned into something of a family project.

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So now I’m just tucked deep inside the revision cave, hard at work sewing the seams of this book back together. A lot has changed. I’ve stripped out a few big strands and written a ton of new words to replace them. I’ve soaked this story in my latest research, and in some new ideas, too. Just today I finished taking all the edits I scrawled on the paper printout and transferring them onto the computer. So my Scrivener document is all up to date. I’m going to tweak a few more chapters, and then I’m sending this draft off to my editor.

It’s a little terrifying. There are parts that I hate. There are parts that I’m okay with. Also, with these rewrites this book has grown ridiculously long. (This printout was, I kid you not, 593 pages.) I’m excited to do a bunch of cutting…that’s both the most painful and most rewarding part.

Fingers crossed that by tomorrow I’ll have turned it in. I’m very much looking forward to recharging, and getting my second edit letter, and diving back in with refreshed eyes.

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