Midnight at the Neon Tiger: A Story of Revisions, pt. 2

Wow. Look at us. Here again. In Revision Hell. But, ah, do you see that, too? IT’S THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL. I’M FINALLY THERE. WE’RE FINALLY THERE. WE DID IT WOW!

Okay, caps-lock over.

This isn’t a post about floundering in Revision Hell. It’s about coming out on the other side, because guess what, everyone? I’m done. I’M D O N E with my second big round revisions! Four hard months of work have finally paid off. I documented my first round of revisions here, if you are so inclined to give that a look. In this post, we will discuss my very different second round, which was much less intense than my first, but no less gratifying. This round, you see, helped make MIDNIGHT AT THE NEON TIGER what it is today. A tightly plotted, concise political noir wrapped up in a YA fantasy package.

Here’s how we did it:


If you read my first post about NEON TIGER’S revisions, you’ll know that my initial revision was a huge one. Almost an 80% rewrite. This newest revision, after a lovely phone call with Allison, turned out to be a rewrite of the last half of the book, roughly speaking. I’d gotten it down to half! Yay!

After our nearly thee hour phone call ended, I got to work. This happened at the end of May. My deadline, as I begged Allison to give me, was July 13th. I wasn’t overly worried.  Throughout the AMM process, I realized I’m a bit of a speed demon whEbuRVqtWAAIamk2en it comes to revisions. I love doing them and I am not afraid of the hard work. In fact, I think I thrive when I have a Big Thing to tackle.

So, I got to work.


In addition to the rewrite of the last half of the book, Allison so kindly gifted me with a completely line-edited version of my manuscript. This is much more than I was expecting her to do–my book is long and complicated and requires SO MUCH WORK–but I was so thankful. Not only did I get big picture edits, I got these great polishing edits, too.

So, after I felt I was done with the rewrite, I moved onto Allison’s line edits. I went through every single comment she made and fixed what needed to be fixed, all the way up until my rewrites hit.

Then I sent the manuscript back to her.


After I sent the MS back to Allison, I didn’t have to wait very long to get feedback. She worked incredibly fast, reading the MS and sending the first part back to me a few days ago. Literally. I think it was June 27th when she sent the first part back, line edited again to polish the writing even MORE.

The next day, Allison sent me back the second half. The half I’d rewritten. I don’t know what I was anticipating–more rewrites, maybe?–but no. No rewrites to be had. Just more line edits and some work with the plot to make sure it REALLY sticks. I was elated. All my hard work was finally starting to pay off. I was finally getting a handle on this extraordinarily complicated story and turning it into the book it was always meant to be.


As of right now, July 1st, 2020, I am on the last 100 pages of NEON TIGER’s line edits. Allison’s critiques have been invaluable to me and her guidance has only made the book stronger. Once I’m done with edits–say, in the next day or two–Allison and I will be moving full steam ahead into query mode. We’ve worked on my query. we’ve polished this manuscript within an inch of its life, and all that’s left to do now is throw it out there and wait.

Everyone’s favorite part.

All in all, this entire AMM revision process has taken me almost four months to the day. This has been the hardest and most rewarding experience of my life. I like to use the Drumline analogy when talking about my revision process, because I think it’s very apt.

Now, if you have never seen the cinematic masterpiece that is Drumline with Nick Cannon, it’s about a boy who gets into college to play in the marching band. An ELITE marching band, where only the best of the best can perform. Nick Cannon’s character is part of the titular drumline, He has a lot of raw, natural talent and he’s very good at what he does.

But the thing is, Nick Cannon can’t read music. Which is a problem in his elite marching band.

That’s how I describe myself. I have a lot of raw talent but I didn’t know what to do with it. I wrote stories I thought were cool and didn’t pay attention to plot arcs, plot structure, character growth–you name it, I didn’t care about it. I just wanted to write books.

Working with Allison has taught me the fundamentals I sorely needed. I’m never going to be the perfect plotter and I will probably never get my story’s plot nailed down in one go, but thanks to AMM and Allison, I have the tools to write smarter. Not necessarily better, but smarter. Writing smarter is an invaluable skill and I’m forever thankful Allison and AMM gave me the opportunity to learn it.

Oh, and before I go, remember the Good Luck Tiger I mentioned on Twitter?

Here he is:


He sits on my bedroom floor near my desk and stares at me while I write. His name is Henry. I bought him a year ago as a good luck charm, as a wish that NEON TIGER will do well. I think it’s worked.

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