|Shrunken Picture Books, |
Photo by Rita Crayon Huang
As I was pondering this topic, I did a Google search for "revision for picture book manuscripts." I discovered a great site: Fict!on Notes, Believe in Your Story. This picture is from the article "How I Shrunk My Picture Book Manuscript - And Why I'll Do It Again" by Lee Wind. It seems like a similar technique that Ann Whitford Paul describes in her Writing Picture Books. Even this clever info I stumbled upon was just not the answer I'm looking for.
So what is the question? When I think a ms is ready, and I send it to my critique group, and they STILL say, "It's close," should I just go with my gut and send it out anyway? I would LOVE for someone to say, "It's ready! Send that baby out!" The bad thing is, the suggestions they give me for revision actually make sense. And the ones that I agree with, I DO go ahead and make those changes. I don't make any changes just because someone suggests it; I'll only make a change if I actually agree with their suggestions. Honestly, I don't know when a ms is ready to send out. If I could just get ONE person to tell me to go for it, then I would feel confident in my feeling of it being ready. I have a PB ms that has gone through nearly 20 tweaks. What then?
It's not so much that I'm afraid to send it out; I'm not. But PB mss are uniquely special. They have to be more "perfect" than any other genre. They're short. They have to speak. Every time I think it's perfect, I'll get ideas from others to make it better. And it truly does get better, like exciting-better! But it keeps happening! At what point do I finally say, "Enough is enough. It's as good as I can make it. Who cares what anyone else says about it! I'm sending it out!"
So, if you're loving your ms, but not so much that it's hard to make ANY changes, and you feel like you're staying true to the story you are trying to tell, and everyone's suggestions are minor, then perhaps it is time. Like Quinn pointed out, even the editor will have you revising again and again. But is it really that easy? How do YOU know when your ms is ready despite others still staying "it's close"?