Thursday, June 5, 2008

When do you revise?

I fruently hear writers get a letter back from an editor or an agent with some suggestions for revisions. I see this also with contests a writer enters Soon after, the writer dives into full rounds of edits before sending the story out again to a new agent or editor. Then, (and you see this coming don't you?) they get a new letter with comments and once again dive into those edits.

Now, what is wrong with this picture?

I am a firm believer in taking criticism from others and especially so when I get the comments back from editors or agents, but, writers need to think first.

Unless the comments came back with obvious issues, I would really stop and wait a minute before I dove into making changes. Remember this is a purely subjective business and many times, the comments that one person has regarding your story might not be the same for another editor or agent.

Take the time to see if you have a pattern of comments that are similar. If I see a trend, then you better believe I am going to recommend making the changes. If the comments are all over the place, then look at the changes with a bit of caution.

Now, as far as comments from contests, I would recommend the same thing. Don't go and keep revising your first three chapters and then entering it into new contests. You simply don't get to see any patterns forming.

I think the key to revision requires REAL thinking. Who said it? What did they comment on? Is it something that may potentially be subjective or is this objective?

Please, just think.


  1. I think one reason so many authors jump on the revision suggestions is because of the dreaded form letter.

    It's such a rare thing to actually get FEEDBACK with a rejection, the mind set is simply "Look, they like it enough to comment, so they must want it... and I must make it what they want to secure that sale!"

    Unfortunately, many times, in the quest for the holy contract sale, the story can lose it's intergrity.

  2. Cancice,

    I would certainly agree that getting a response back from an editor or agent with specifics is great, but remember, unless they say to send it back again, in most cases, you are stucuk with that rejection.

    What I am recommending is to not rush things. Sometimes the comments are simply due to a writer submitting to the wrong house that would never have "gotten it."