Emily McKeon's Thoughts on Revision
“Bottom line: you've got talent, but this isn't ready yet. Spend some more time with it and my suggestions, and we'd be pleased to look at a resubmission.” These are words I always thought I’d be ecstatic to hear. It meant someone, besides my family and friends, saw something worthwhile in my writing.
After countless rejections (Ok, they could be counted, but I’d prefer not to) including one on a requested full, here was my opportunity to edge my way into the publishing world. The best part about this resubmission request was that it came straight from a publisher, not an agent. So what did I do?
I’ll be honest; I cried. After all the rejections that garnered little more than a sigh and a flurry of submissions to other agents, this opportunity caused tears. I’m not really sure why, but I think it had to do with knowing I was so close and still not being able to reach the finish line. The other rejections had been form, “Sorry, but this isn’t for us.” This one gave me reasons.
I know I should have jumped right on those suggestions and started revising, but I didn’t. Instead, they sat in my inbox for the weekend while I debated what I wanted to do. Most of it was simple enough to change: eliminate ‘that’, ‘just’ and ‘I’ wherever it wasn’t necessary or the sentence could be restructured. Others, like rewriting the entire opening, weren’t as easy.
Over that weekend, I mulled over how much I was willing to change my work to make it publishable. My husband looked over the suggestions and managed to convince me they weren’t as bad as I thought they were. With him pushing me along, and armed with the publisher’s critique, I set to work.
Doing the revisions, I realized there were a lot of things both the publisher and I had overlooked in previous read-throughs. Things like my characters’ penchant for constantly opening and closing doors or smiling all the time. Most of these were cut along with the ‘that’s, ‘just’s and ’I’s.
I went through and revised several times over the following weeks. Each time, finding more of the things she had pointed out and corrected them. Last Thursday, tired of looking at it and sure I would throw my computer out the window if I had to do another revision, I hit the send button.Now, I’m sitting and waiting to hear back as to whether or not I’ve managed to revise it enough. Keep your fingers crossed. Meanwhile, now conscious of my most over used words and phrases, I’m off to edit my other MSS before they get sent off to Queryland and come back with the same comments.