Under the Light, rough

Well, I finished a rough draft of UNDER THE LIGHT.

Now I’m going through, chapter by chapter, and in addition to revising for the big stuff (answering questions like, “Do I love this part? Does this feel right?”) I’m also checking for the following things as I read and rewrite:

Is the voice right? Jenny (my first person narrator) needs to sound like herself.

Am I aiming at the crosshairs of the chapter? (See my blog post from 10/30/09 to learn more about crosshairs.)

Are there any transitions between scenes that I need to fill in? (Sometimes, to help my writing speed along faster, I skip the transitions and mark the spots so I can go back later and write them in.)

Are there “inserts” I need to include? (Sometimes I get good ideas while I’m running errands or watching a DVD and I write down the tidbits on scraps of paper and then insert them later.)

Is the cliffhanger at the end of the chapter good enough?

Are there questions I need to answer? (Sometimes I can’t remember a detail so I type in a question mark for a minor character’s name from a previous scene or what day of the week it is. Now’s the time to get those things right.)

Fitch x 2? Okay, this one’s harder to explain. It means . . . like Janet Fitch (author of WHITE OLEANDER) do I say something fresh and fascinating at least twice per page?

Does this chapter support the novel as a Stand Alone? Meaning, if someone had not read A CERTAIN SLANT OF LIGHT, would they still be able to follow what’s going on in this chapter in a significant way?

Am I giving SLANT fans what they crave?

Am I being true to the main characters’ emotional arcs?

Are my pay-offs set up right or do my set-ups have satisfying pay-offs?

Are the settings described vividly and are they interesting enough?

Can I make the bad stuff worse? (See my blog post of 11/26/09 on how this heightens tension.)

Yesterday I got through chapter one. By this time next week I want to have rewritten the whole manuscript. I’ll keep you posted.

By the way, best of all great good wishes to those who started novels in November (for National Novel Writing Month) and who are now finishing those manuscripts. As my dad used to say, “You’re doing a terrific job!”


24 Responses to “Under the Light, rough”

  1. Tim King Says:

    Wow, Laura. You revise fast!

    I loved SLANT. And I’m looking forward to this one. Staying tuned.


    • Laura Whitcomb Says:

      Okay, I’ll tell you a secret. I’m revising this fast because the book’s due on 1/18. What I’ll do is rewrite it and turn it in, continue to rewrite, and then (when I think I have another good draft ) I’ll ask my editor if she already read that first version. If not, I’ll send the newer one. And of course, I’ll be able to work on it some more after I get the editor notes and again when I get the copy editor notes (although I can’t go too crazy with the copy edit version. Small stuff only.) But YES this is a fast rewrite. If I had all the time in the world, I would put the manuscript aside for a couple weeks at least before I reread and rewrote it. =)

  2. samosa Says:

    Ah hah. Good to know. So when’s the book going to get published? *curious* *excited*. Any other news worth sharing?

    • Laura Whitcomb Says:

      UNDER THE LIGHT is due out in spring 2011. So goes the timeline of the publishing world. It probably seems like a long time to my teen readers, but on this end it’s good to know lots of care is taken with the cover, format, promotion plan, and (my fave) the editing. =) I’ll keep you all updated about interesting phases of the process. I may have some other news soon, but not yet. =D

  3. Ka-Yam Says:

    Hi Laura,
    Time really flies. I’m SO excited about the Under The Light progress. Can’t wait to finally read it. Good luck!


  4. nafisa Says:

    count me in as another excited fan. I can’t wait to see where the story goes.

  5. hannah Says:

    can i just say how happy finding out about this book just made me? can’t wait to finally read it … in 2011. still, i am all smiles. 🙂

  6. samosa Says:

    ohh … do you think you’ll publish an excerpt a few months before its release? sort of a “cookie” for us fans? or what about a contest (worldwide, of course :))?

  7. samosa Says:

    awesome. i’m looking forward to my lil cookie then!!! 😛

  8. Amanda Says:

    I keep asking myself why didn’t find A certain slant of light earlier… I was stumped for a second because someone told me this was the only one book(that lair!)…But of course I didn’t believe them and I was about to cry for joy when i saw there is another !!! I’m looking forward to it!! 😛

    • Laura Whitcomb Says:

      Hee hee. Thanks for your kind words. Yes, there’s also my second novel, THE FETCH (and two books on writing), and I’m just rewriting the SLANT sequel now. Hope you like them, too.

  9. Missie Says:

    Hi Ms. Whitcomb,

    I just finished reading A Certain Slant of Light last night. I can not believe it took me so long to pick up your book. I fell so in love with your writing. It is exquisite.

    I’m really looking forward to reading more of your work. Good luck with your revision process.

  10. Pam Says:

    Its been like 5 years since I picked up SLANT and I’m torture waiting for the next one! Hope it comes out soon!!

  11. Liesel Says:


    It’s been more than a year since you posted on Under the Light and you said the book was due spring 2011…so I was wondering if you were still working on the book? Just where things stood? I loved Slant, which I read two years ago, and I’m really looking forward to this one!! (:
    I hope the drafts are going well

    • Laura Whitcomb Says:

      So sorry it is taking so long for UNDER THE LIGHT to be published. All my fault. Two things are delaying it until fall 2012 — one is the fact that I adopted a newborn preemie right after I turned in the first draft and the other is that my editor and I decided to take a different path (as it were) so I have now (almost) finished a completely different version of the book with two narrators. I’ll finish in about a week or two. But editing/copy-editing, artwork, printing, etc, all take a while. So sorry to make you wait. I do so appreciate my fans. THANK YOU for your patience. I do love motherhood and am learning to write faster a faster as my son gets older and older. =)

  12. Missie Says:

    Thanks for the update Ms. Whitcomb. I’ve been eagerly awaiting the release of Under the Light, too. I’m happy to hear you still plan on releasing it, even if it is taking a bit longer I’m sure it will be worth the wait.

    Congratulations on the new addition to your family! 🙂

  13. Casey Rojas Says:

    Im so glad I found your blog! Ive been searching everywhere (everywhere as in google, lol!) and couldn’t find a release date for UTL. Im so glad the thought occured to me to find your website! Can’t WAIT for Fall 2012! And yes, congratulations to the addition to your family.

  14. Sallie Mazzur Says:

    I am in shock right now. I read A Certain Slant of Light back in 2005 and fell in love with the story. I was so affected by your writing that I always go back to thinking about it, almost every other day. And today, in 2012, I learn you’re writing a second one. I am so unbelieveably happy and excited right now, I don’t think anyone could understand. I read Slant back when I was 16, and now that I’m 22, I feel like apart of my teen-hood is returning to me. YAY!

  15. Cova Focht Says:

    Hello, I was wondering as to when the book will be available? I’m super excited to read because I loved the first one so much! 🙂

    • Laura Whitcomb Says:

      I turned in the editorial notes draft and am waiting for the copy-editing notes. From here it will be about ten months, I believe. Unde the Light should be out in spring 2013. Sorry it takes so long!

  16. Deanna Says:

    A Certain Slant of Light is one of my favorite novels – it is dog-eared and well-worn as all remarkable books should be. I recently learned about Under the Light and cannot wait to discover it, New Book Smell and all, like devouring gooey brownies with an old friend. Thank you for sharing your mind.

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