In Others' WordsIn Others' Words

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

In My Words: Me and My Revision Letter (Part 1)

I loved getting a revision letter from my agent, Rachelle Gardner.


My enthusiasm prompted me to print off all eight pages and dance around my office, singing a silly little "I got my revision letter" song. I'm sorry to say there are no photos or video recordings of this event. Then again, maybe I'm not sorry. Some things are best left to your imagination.

Why would an author dance and sing with eight pages of suggested edits?

I'll give you three reasons:

  1. I'd attended a local ACFW workshop where romantic suspense author Colleen Coble advocated embracing revision letters. She acknowledged you might be surprised by suggested changes. That you might disagree with some of the recommendations. But Colleen still called for a "let-me-have-it-I-can-take-it" approach to revision letters. And I decided to approach those eight pages the Colleen Coble way: with a positive attitude.
  2. Rachelle told me she had faith in me as a novelist--so much so, she recommended I set aside the nonfiction book we both believed in. Rachelle was on my team, so any suggested changes were for my benefit and the betterment of my novel.
  3. The revision letter started off positively. Rachelle began by listing what she loved about Wish You Were Here. And then, rather than saying, "Here's what I don't like," she said, "Here are suggestions for making your book even stronger." How could I not listen to feedback like that?

So, after my little song and dance, and after I read the fun love-this-and-this-and-this section of the letter, it was time to read the rest of the letter.

And I did. Several times.

And then I put my revision letter on my desk and walked away from it.

I wasn't angry or upset. But I wanted to give myself time to mull over Rachelle's suggestions before I started making any changes. And make changes I did.

But that's another blog post.

See you Thursday for the rest of the story.

Until then, anybody else have a revision story to share? Did you love your revision letter? Twirl it around the room a few times? Or was the revision letter one more rough patch along the writing road?

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At 9:22 AM, Blogger Sarah Forgrave said...

Wow, what an awesome perspective you have, Beth! I think it's a privilege to get feedback from a publishing professional like that, so I think I'd approach it the same way you did (maybe with a few less dance moves and more chocolate). :)

At 12:06 PM, Anonymous Beth Vogt said...

Whatever it takes to maintain a positive outlook, Sarah! It's all about improving the book.

At 6:42 PM, Blogger Jeanne T said...

Thanks for sharing this, Beth. I love your teachable spirit, and your willingness to embrace suggestions. :) May I learn from you and your wonderful attitude!

At 6:47 PM, Blogger Beth K. Vogt said...

The only way to get along the writing road is to teachable, Jeanne! That's another thing I've learned.

At 12:57 PM, Blogger Keli Gwyn said...

Rachelle really knows her stuff. I wouldn't be a contracted author today if it weren't for her and the Revision Notes she sent me. When she talks, I listen. =)

At 1:03 PM, Blogger Beth K. Vogt said...

True, true, Keli!


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