Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Revising and Revising and Revising!

Recently I had a lot of fun revising a manuscript. Well... it wasn't fun all the way through.

Basically here's how my revision process went...

I had a manuscript that I had done my very best job of polishing up as much as I possibly could. I promise. I really had.

But then I sent it off and got a (wonderful!) request to make it better. It didn't have enough of a narrative. (Eek! I've had that problem before!)

So I revised it and gave it more of a narrative. Which ended up changing up the rhyme scheme in a fun new way. Hooray!

So I showed it to a trusted reader who said it was good... but not good enough.

Yikes! How could I make it better!

So I went back to the drawing (errr... writing) board. I revised some more (and some more and some more). And my trusted reader liked where I was heading. But still not enough.

"Make it better" he told me.

"How?" I asked him.

"How should I know?" he told me. (Have I mentioned that my trusted reader is my husband? :o) )

But I pressed him. And eventually he threw out a crazy idea. 

"No way!" I thought. "How in the world could I do that?"

And then I thought again. How in the world could I not do that?

Of course, doing "that" wasn't easy. No it wasn't easy at all. Especially in a rhyming manuscript with a crazy (and fun) rhyme scheme. But it was worth it.

So I revised and revised and revised some more.

And finally I sent it to my agent.  Who loved it! Hooray!!!

And asked for more revisions. (Yep! :o) ) She challenged every time I took a (too) easy rhyme and challenged me to make sure my story arc was as strong as could be.

More revising! More hard work! More fun! 

Hard work to get every word as right as can be! Fun to see my manuscript getting so much stronger!

How does your revision process work?


  1. Years ago, when I took a PB writing workshop, we were told, "never share your work with the person you sleep with."

    Ha! Shows you how generalizations can be wrong.

  2. Love it, Gale! (He has actually given me some really helpful feedback through the years-- including challenging me to revise DIGGERS and helping me to "catch" the idea of a dinosaur beauty pagaent. So in our case that generalization is wrong (though I can see how it could be pretty good advice for most couples :o))!

  3. My revision process begins with a desire to make it pretty and a need to make it dirty.

  4. Wow! Very well stated, J.A.! That is such a huge conflict for me in revision! (And I think I've gotten much better at revision since the "need to make it dirty" stopped bothering me so much!)

  5. I think it depends on whom you're sleeping with! My husband sometimes gives me very good feedback precisely because he's not into fantasy himself. He subjects my world-building to a kind of rationalist scrutiny that is often very helpful.

  6. That's awesome, Ariel! Sounds like his perspective can give you some pretty helpful feedback!