Revising Your Children's Manuscript too Much

As you may have noticed, Buried in the Slush Pile has undergone yet another transformation over the past 24 hours.  I have spend countless hours tinkering and moving widgets, columns, and various objects back and forth.  The result?  A blog that looks almost exactly the same as when I started it in 2006 with just a different color background, a graphic header (of stuff from my actual slush pile) and a wider spread.

Sigh.  Sometimes there really is no point in messing with a good thing.

And this is a lesson that applies to revising, especially children and teen manuscripts.  There is such as too much revision.  Tinkering away at your manuscript can sometimes make it weaker instead of stronger.  I've watched authors nit-pick at the things until the passages actually are choppier and more disjointed than they were 4 drafts before.  Like everything, show some restraint and moderation when it comes to revising.  And if you find yourself compulsively rewriting the same paragraph for the 45th time, it's time to take that manuscript or chapter to your critique group.  Obviously you could use an outside opinion.


Gaylene Wilson said...

It's hard to stop editing, especially when there are so many opinions out there about what to fix. Thanks for the encouragement!

Sophia the Writer said...

Ack! Yet another thing to worry about. :)

Uh oh, can a manuscript also be over-critiqued then? (I'm revising it after every single CP sees it.)

kathleen duey said...

Everyone is different.

It helps me to write down a very short event-map of the heart of the book, the protagonist's journey, before I begin to revise.

Once I know what the tent poles are, I can shine them up and remove/condense/re-focus the secondary elements, so that they clarify,spotlight, and set the stage for the core story. Then I polish.

The Buried Editor said...

I think the only time you have to worry about over-critiquing is if you have the kind of critiquer that just must find a problem with everything they read. Granted there are very few MS that couldn't use some help, but occasionally, someone just needs to tell you what is working.

Also, Kathleen's suggestions are helpful too. They can help you see on your own what needs revising and can help you put your critique comments in perspective.

Julia Munroe Martin said...

This is very helpful information to keep me sweating out every sentence. It's also my first time to your site -- I love your cartoon avatar! Too funny! What have we writers done to you with our slush???

Julia Munroe Martin said...

should've said: keep me *from* sweating every sentence. LOL editing the comment :)

B.N.Lippy said...

Love your new look! Very sleek and classy. I do wonder about today's post. You know when you go to church and you feel as if the preacher is speaking directly to you. I almost said,"Amen, Sister!" Especially after my last edit.

Slush said...

How do you know who to trust? Who's 'write' (yes, I like puns)when it comes to critique and pairing away?

I find it hard to put my faith in critiques though I let others offer their advice. The reason why: everything is subjective.

One person says it's great and another rips it to tiny shreds. Ugh! Tough work.