Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Art of Revision

First, this post is one day late. Sorry about that. This has been a crazy start to October.

And part of the crazy is that I've been rewriting a lot. In particular, I had this one manuscript - my CPs will know which one I'm talking about, but I won't say here - that was pretty darn good, if I do say so myself. Most everyone who looked at it thought it was either ready, or very very close.

Except for one person, who thought it was too quiet to be marketable. That person was an agent.

So, I wrote a new version. A much more character-driven version. And I think it's a lot more marketable, but I don't know yet if it's better.

Does that matter? What good is a great manuscript if I can't sell it? Should I go ahead and try to market my masterpiece, and to heck with selling lots of copies? Should I drawer the old one and go with this newer, more marketable, maybe not amazing but still pretty good version?

These are the questions running circles in my mind this morning.

Do you ever sacrifice a small amount of quality for marketability?


  1. Yes. I hate to say it, but publishers zero in on marketability more than anything else. I didn't want a pretty, white girl on the front cover of Shifters, but publishers know that sells. And really, I'm not disappointed, this is my livelyhood we're talking about.

  2. One agent told me my novel didn't have enough tension while another said there was too much in the "plot pot."
    I had one agent tell me to go through my manuscript one more time to tighten it up before she took it on and then after a year of working with her she rejected it because she said I'd changed the main character's voice. In the final edit I didn't change a single word spoken by my main character. So my advice now is to write it so it makes YOU happy. Let me know how this works and maybe I'll stop with the endless rewrites.

  3. I think it's pretty normal to sacrifice at least a little bit if an author wants to be published. We do have to think of our audience!

  4. It's hard to know which version is right. If you like your new version see what you're critique partners say before you decide. Great that you tried to totally rewrite it. That's really dedicated to making it better.

  5. Do what you can to get published is my motto. If an agent wants you to change it...best to do just that and get er done.

  6. I love quiet novels! I think you should stick to your guns. Put it out there and see if you get any feedback. Then go from there.

    Or submit the new one and do the same. And if someone expresses interest, there's no rule saying you can't tell them about both versions.

  7. It's such a tough question. While I try to please my editors or listen to what agents say, it is not a guarantee for seeing your baby published. I consider their advise but unless I'm very close to publishing I would stick to what feels right to me.

  8. I think there's always compromise required, but it's hard, especially in a situation like yours! Good luck with making a decision!