Sunday, March 21, 2010

Rewrite and revisions

As most of you know by now, I was selected in Mary Kole at's workshop for beginnings. If you haven't heard, go check it out

It was truly an amazing experience. What better way to learn what you are doing wrong than straight from an agent you intend to query (And boy was mine filled with stuff I was doing wrong, I mean, I'm pretty sure it was the whole entire thing!)?

So here is some questions that arose for me: When you are given critique like this, how much do you take and change? Do you think, OK, I'm going to do every single change she suggested? Like for me, she instantly didn't like the idea of the preface, so do I take it out and start at chapter one? Of course you all don't have any idea what my chapter one is like, but on my blog I do have the very first paragraph of ch 1. So that would be the beginning of my story. any thoughts? Anyhow, my point is it is one persons opinion, how much do you let it affect you?

I did get a lot of positive feedback from others and most agreed on one place that they liked and felt I should start, which leads me to believe that would be a good place to begin, but then I still have the preface.

WHAT TO DO? WHAT TO DO? Send me some feedback while I'm mulling this revision around.


  1. It's a tough call. I got similar advice from the AQCrew on another beginning about a year ago. I started with a 1 page chapter from the pov of the villain. They said NO WAY!!! - about that loudly too :)

    When reading, I don't mind prologues/prefaces at all, but they don't appear to be something agents want right now.

    I did rewrite mine - ended up having to change the timeline and the first half of the novel. I think it's stronger now. But... I have it marinating in a file while I work on this one. I'm hoping to take it out in a while and see how it works :)

    After all that rambling, I think you have to trust yourself - take advice sure - but trust yourself to know your story and what works for it.

  2. That is a tough call Shawna. I went through a similar thing recently (as you know) and struggled with the whole idea of changing my MG to a series of chapter books. So, I'm kinda like Jemi above. I'm putting it down for now and going to work on a screenplay instead and let it stew for a bit (psst, I might even query a bit). I'll come back to it at some point and see how I feel and any feedback I might have gotten in the meantime.
    I agree with Jem though. I think you have to make those changes that feel right and hold up on the ones that don't. I know, I know, I'm not much help. ;)

  3. Shawna, I'm new to your blog, but I wanted to chime in. I agree with Jemi and Lisa that the changes you make you need to feel right about them. Here's something to think about...sometimes when my editor has asked me to change something that I absolutely don't want to do, I always think about it for a while and try to understand why she wants me to make the change. The thing is editors and agents are only trying to help you write your best book. Something to think about as you try to decided what to do. It's a tough dilemma. Good luck!

  4. Thanks everybody! I am still twirking it around. I haven't touched it yet.

    The hubby says cut the preface, but I feel like that first para maybe isn't the best starting point either, is it too cliche ? I have always liked that preface, but what Mary said makes sense, too much emotion when you could careless about those people. But for me I feel like Wow, what's going to happen now?

    Any thoughts on that first paragraph as an opener, if you read it?

    Welcome, Kathi!!! So glad to have you on board and so thankful for advice from someone who has actually been there and made it!

  5. First and foremost, don't edit a word. Yet. Let it simmer for a bit. Reread the commentary from kidlit after you've let it simmer. Then you can tweak with a fresh perspective.

    Right now, everything is too fresh and you will make changes based on what others have said without considering how you feel and how it works as a whole. You lose nothing by giving it a week or two.

    Then, try rewriting your beginning a few different ways to see how it feels and flows with the rest of your manuscript.

    What ever you do, don't give up and stay true to yourself.