Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Revise and Resubmit

I have a lot of hard feelings on revise and resubmit. I had a book that everyone thought they could rehabilitate into the book they wanted. Alas. This never worked out. Many times tried. Many times failed. Many near misses.

As you might imagine, enough tries and fails makes me think this is a classic case of me not being good enough. They keep giving me a chance, and I keep not being enough. I don’t know if you guys have gone out and read what agents and editors look for, but they want you to be able to make magic with a revise and resubmit. Agents talk about how they want to be surprised in a revise and resubmit. They want the book to go someplace magical.

They want magic.

Right, so I have tried slavishly doing the things I thought were asked. Close, but not enough.

I have tried taking a new direction (as suggested). Oh, that changed the story in a way we didn't like.

I’ve tried fluffing up the world building. I’ve tried cutting out the world building.

I drew the line at completely rewriting a story to take all of the important parts of the character out.

Since they all ended in various shades of “nope,” I’m sure you can imagine that at this point, I think it’s me who sucks at revisions. Here I am with another revise and resubmit, and all I can think is “NO! Please, please, please! I want this one to work.” I’m riddled with doubt and insecurity. I want this one. But I had wanted the other one, too. I’m really worried that I’m the one the agents talk about when they say “I don’t want to work with someone who can’t take direction.” Because I worked REALLY HARD on those other revise and resubmits (I rewrote 75 of the 90,000 words for one of them), and it was still, somehow not what they were hoping for.

But what else can I do? And I really agree with this one. It really resonates with me, as they say. Oh boy. fingers crossed.

That’s my insecurity quotient for the day. Have some art:

Watercolor brush pens on watercolor paper. ©Rena Rocford

As with every IWSG, be sure to go jump on the link and hop around. Thank our cohosts,  Misha Gericke, LK Hill, Juneta Key, Christy and Joylene Buter and most definitely thank Ninja Captain Alex for hosting an awesome idea for so many years. 


  1. From what I hear, it's pretty standard to resubmit to agents and editors and have them say no again. Hopefully you learned something from their suggestions, but don't feel that you have to change your story to make it better. It's your story, not theirs.

    1. I admit that every time I go through a book and revise, I learn something. With this run through, I'm learning that at my core, I'm lazy and want things to be easy. Sigh.

  2. Every one of them will want something different and in the end you'll end up with a twisted story you no longer recognize. Go back through it, make the changes you want, and start anew. Maybe run all of those suggested revisions past your critique partners and ask what seems valid and what doesn't.

    1. The book that enjoys its spot on my shelf as a near miss has always been very misunderstood. People love the writing and the story, but the protag doesn't work for them because she's a mother of two young kids. Make her older, no problem, make her younger, no problem. Make her a man, no problem. And no one wants to admit that part of it, but always it's the first criticism that book gets. And that's something I'm not willing to change about it. I've made peace with that one. Currently, I'm shaking in my boots about a different story.

  3. I think I'm partly with Alex on this. I can understand wanting to revise the book so someone might want it (as much as I can, having never experienced it), but I think there has to be a line. That bit about rewriting 75K out of 90K made me stop and make sure I read it right. I'd do my best to do what someone wanted, but damn, that's like writing another book. >_<

  4. I have to agree with Ken in that it's your story at the end of the day. It sounds like this book has really been through the ringer and you don't want to end up with something that's far removed from what your vision is. This might seem scary, but it might be worth taking the best of these suggestions and seeing what works to make a "super draft", then trying elsewhere?

  5. Revise and resubmit means you're getting their attention. That means a lot. Take the suggestions you feel fit and work them in, but like Alex said, keep the story yours. Too many changes and it may be unrecognizable.


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