Picture Books, Writing

REVISION REQUEST! HOORAY! Now What? (One Author’s To-Do List)

I’ve been so busy revising a picture book manuscript this past week, per an editor’s request (yay!), that I didn’t think I’d have time to write a blog post. Then I realized it might be interesting and maybe helpful if I shared my process.  So, here’s a list of what I have done over the last several days.

  1. Printed out a fresh, clean copy of the story I’d submitted.
  2. Read and re-read it several times, over a period of a day or two.
  3. Pulled up every earlier version of the story in question and read and re-read each as well looking for nuggets to possibly re-work into my revision.
  4. Brainstormed revision ideas in my notebook and recorded snippets of inspiration – possible new rhyme pairings and plot escalations – using the notes feature on my iPhone.
  5. In several sessions, separated by self-imposed time filters (i.e. walks, dishes, school work etc.) I wrote and rewrote until I had something I felt good about.
  6. Sent my revision-in-progress to a couple of trusted critique partners.
  7. Repeated step five and six as needed (and it was definitely much needed).
  8. Celebrated with a happy dance when, at last, I had a revision that I was really happy with.
  9. Resisted urge to send it right away to my agent – knowing that one extra time-filter can never hurt.
  10. Spent afternoon diverting myself by volunteering at our local history museum’s Sheep to Shawl Festival.  That littlest one is only two days old, by the way.
  11. Finally, after one more read through, I wrote a note to my agent and got my revised story ready to email first thing Monday  morning.

What would you add to the list?  Happy revising!

14 thoughts on “REVISION REQUEST! HOORAY! Now What? (One Author’s To-Do List)”

  1. Great post! I agree with Genevieve. 🙂 Also agree that “time filters” are incredibly important. And depending how big of a revision, I’ve sometimes written several versions of the manuscript to test things out.

  2. This list is basically the same as mine. And I’ve gone through a similar experience very recently. Hoping this works out for both of us!

  3. Great list – seems like the magic recipe for success! Fingers crossed for you!

  4. Hmm… I will have to consider saving full versions of earlier drafts. Instead, I create a ‘parking lot/storage garage’ file for lines/chunks/darlings I like but actually don’t fit any longer (or at the moment) and need to go. As for adding to your list – Do you ever read with just your Copy Editor Eyes (for facts/misconceptions and typos) as part of this revision cycle? Or do you let that go by this stage?

    1. You make a wonderful point, Katie! Yes, I do use my “copy editor eyes” at this stage as well and that step should definitely be a part of any revision request. I also like to get someone other than me to give it a mechanics/ spelling final review – like my husband or son. Thanks for commenting on this important aspect.

  5. Only once did I not do a revision request, because it was to expand a PB to a MG. It came from a very interested editor. I’d been through that before and couldn’t bring myself to go there again.
    Scroll forward a few years, and I did it. The interested editor had left publishing, and so I was not really complying with a request anymore. I did it because I could see the way and felt the point she made.
    That MG got me agented. In the grand scheme of things, many R &R do not result in a contract to publish. But there is always a point.

    1. Such a good point, Mirka! I agree that even if a revision request doesn’t ultimately result in a sale, it’s still a valuable opportunity to grow as a writer. I’ve learned so much from each revision request I’ve had, even though only a couple of those have actually resulted in sales.

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