So last week I sent a submission to an agent. Along with the attachment, I gave her some basic info – short blurb, editor interest (yes, it has some), and I threw in a little bit about another YA of mine that is currently with an editor I had queried and sent to on my own. I concluded with, “I am open to any and all revisions.”
But that wasn’t always the case. For me, revising is a struggle. Once my words are on paper, changing them is like rearranging Stonehenge (forget it Feng Shui folks). Since they seemed so perfect the first time, my brain would freeze and I just couldn’t think of anything to replace them. And putting the manuscript in a drawer didn’t help either. I’d pull it out a year later and think, “Wow, I wrote this? It’s good!”
But I learned a neat trick. Stop thinking of myself and look at it through my agent’s or editor’s eyes. What are they seeing that I’m not? And what about the reader? What do I want them to take away from this? My books should be a shared experience, not I love this, so should you.
I’ve learned over the years that it’s not just your writing, voice and plot that sells. It’s your revisions. If you’re not willing play well with others, you can kiss those contracts goodbye.
And those beautiful pieces of prose that I just can’t part with? They’re in a folder called “Outtakes.”