Introduced first in 2007, authors debuting children’s books have formed a cooperative effort to market their novels. Last year, I featured many of the stories of how the 2k8 Novels Were Revised. This is part of the ongoing stories from the Class of 2k9 authors and how they went about revising their novels.
Before you Revise, Write the Novel!
My revision story is sort of an “anti-revision” story! When I first started writing When the Whistle Blows back in 2005 I was a revision fanatic. I love revision – I love getting the words just right, and for me that means reading the same few pages of my novel over and over and over again to polish them to perfection. So what’s the problem with that? Well, it’s hard to get a book finished when you are always going back to revise what you’ve already written. So after about a year of writing I only had about 30 pages of a novel to show for all my efforts.
But then in 2006 I was accepted into the Nevada SCBWI mentorship program as well as the Highlights Foundation’s writers workshop at Chautauqua. I knew that in order to take advantage of these two amazing opportunities I needed to have more of my book written – after all, you can’t get feedback on something that’s still in your head. So I put down my red pen of revision, put my nose to the grindstone, and began to write, write, write. At first it was really hard for me not to go back and polish my novel, but I made myself keep moving forward. And several months later I had practically doubled the size of my manuscript! It turned out to be a good thing, too, because when I went to Chautauqua and met Philomel’s Patricia Lee Gauch, I had something substantial to show her. And after reading my partial novel, she offered to work with me as I brought the book to completion.
So I guess the moral of this revision story is that there are times to revise and polish your novel, and there are times to completely ditch the idea of revision and just plow through and write the book so that you actually have a novel to revise.