Let’s do this.
For posterity’s sake, and because I have so many writer friends also embarking on massive revisions, I’m going to try and write a short post every few days documenting my Pitchwars revisions process.
My mentor was SO on the ball that I got my edit letter and comments on my entire manuscript in my inbox the night that Pitchwars winners were announced.
Going into PW I vowed that if I was chosen I would have an open mind and really consider any suggestion given by my mentor, even if it came out of left field or was something I wouldn’t usually do.
I’ve heard the stories (and now seen my fellow mentors discussing) huge, earth shattering revisions. Rewriting entire books from a different POV, adding second or third POVS, cutting major characters. I knew any or all of that could be in the cards.
I opened the email with one eye closed, white knuckles around my computer mouse…
And then I breathed a huge sigh of relief.
Everything she said made perfect sense. The stuff that needs the most work is… well… the stuff I suspected needed the most work. No sucker punches. It didn’t look like she wanted me to scrap 99.9% of the words on the page, or rewrite it with a totally new main character, or anything quite that extreme. I wasn’t uncomfortable or uneasy about anything she said.
Molly really got what I want this book to be and offered insights on how I could make it the best version of itself.
Still, I wanted a liiiiiittle bit of time to rejoice before I jumped into the full comments, which I know from experience can be tough to read.
I saved the full comments (but didn’t open them) and then spent the a day or so celebrating and dancing around the house while my four year old chanted, “Mommy got picked! Mommy got picked!”
Eventually the wine bottles went in the recycling bin, the dance party ended, I got some blissful happy sleep, then I sat down at 5 am yesterday while the rest of the family was camping, to start reading the full manuscript comments. After all, THIS is what I entered for!
It was intimidating to open that file, I won’t lie. But not crushing. Molly’s comments blended critical feedback with encouragement and I sat there nodding, like, “Yeah, that’s true. Hadn’t noticed that, but yes! Oooh, good point. Gasp! Why didn’t I think of that?” (Okay, I didn’t really say “gasp,” but you get it.)
That doesn’t mean I know how I’m going to fix it all, LOL, but it all sounds doable. Not easy– it’s going to require a lot of focus, time, and effort–but I believe I can pull it off. (Please remind me of this in three weeks, kthanks!)
So… What’s next?
- Print out the entire manuscript with comments, and highlight comments to sort by type- style, overall trends, specific changes, big-picture stuff, etc.
2. Next, make a copy of that file and remove all the comments about parts that are working, and the easy fixes (after fixing them, obviously) until I’ve pared it down to the big stuff. The revision stuff. The major changes/rewrites/things I can’t fix by simply rearranging words. The things I need to think deeply about before I can fix them.
3. Then, I’ll read through it all a few more times and write down notes, ideas, questions.
I’m NOT going to let myself write yet.
I have a tendency to leap into revisions and go too far, too fast, then often have to go back an undo half of it. I can’t afford to do that right now. Instead, I’ll pace myself and run the big changes past Molly first.
One more week of summer break for my littlest, so this is a good time to sort through my thoughts, to plan, and to give myself pep talks. Once she’s in preschool five days a week, I’m off to the races!
Happy revisions, friends!