Revision, revision, revision

I’ve been so discouraged since the SCBWI conference that I haven’t done any writing or revisions, but I’m feeling more positive now and have begun to revise one of my stories.

So tedious to keep revising a manuscript, and I become truly sick and tired of the story after so many revisions, but there’s always something else to look at. A teacher at Grub Street suggested doing each revision looking only at one thing:

Are the verbs as strong as they can be?

How many words are used too frequently? (Paste your text into – it’s a great tool)

Does the first sentence make someone want to read more?

Am I showing, not telling?

Asking others to read my work is a mixed bag. I don’t want people to tell me how good they think it is, because I do want criticism and feedback, but at the same time, I get contradictory advice and suggestions,  so it becomes very confusing and I’m not sure whose advice to follow. Children’s stories have particular rules, even thought the general principles of good writing apply. I’m just going to have to trust my gut on my revision and maybe I’ll find a publisher or maybe not.

It seems like the revision process is never-ending, but eventually I will have to say it’s as good as I can make it and send out some query letters.

SCBWI New York Conference

I feel both disheartened and hopeful by attending the conference. Disheartened because it is so hard to get published, but hopeful because I learned:

  1. I shouldn’t pin all my hopes on one story. As one illustrator put it “you have to be an idea factory.”
  2. Current trends in picture book stories are for very spare manuscripts – less than 700 words, quirky, lyrical, funny, and “different.”
  3. It can take many years to get published and the only thing that will definitely stop me getting published is giving up.

Out of over 1,000 conference attendees, only 300 were already published, so there are lots of other aspiring (the conference calls them “pre-published”) authors and illustrators. I was able to network with them and also be inspired by what published authors and illustrators had to share. It was wonderful to leave feeling stimulated with lots to think about and do.