Monday, June 6, 2011

How Much Should We Revise?

I just read one of Dear Editor's questions. The response made me think. Especially about the word "significant." Basically, she says it's only okay to resubmit to an editor or agent if we have made significant changes to our manuscript. They wouldn't say no based on surface changes that might need to be done. Editors would probably be willing to work with a writer on that.

It got me to thinking about how critique groups work. Obviously 99% of what we writers write will not be publication-ready the first time we write it. Okay, maybe even 100%. But at what level should we revise something substantially? How do we know if the concept and/or writing only needs surface cleaning? As a critter in a critique group, should we act as an editor would? If it's a reject, we should suggest major revisions. If we want to publish it and we think it is THAT good, then perhaps we would only find surface cleaning types of revision comments to offer.

What do you guys think?

Keep on keepin' on...


  1. Good question! My book went through my crit group and now I'm going through one last edit before I submit. I'm glad I revised because I was missing a whole paragraph. After this I'm done because I don't think at this point I can do much better. I have to walk away and hope someone in the publishing world likes my pet and helps me raise it better.

  2. My critique group varies on the extent of the editing. Those who have been there each week and got to know the novel, even though only a chapter is read each week, are willing to make major editing suggestions.

  3. It does seem to be easier when we have a group to work with. They get to know our strengths and weaknesses and our style of writing. They know just where to push each story. Thanks for your comments, gals!

  4. It's a very tough question because the industry is so subjective. My friend had two crits this weekend on the same manuscript and got pretty much OPPOSITE feedback from two professional editors!

  5. This is an interesting question. Can't say I have an answer. I think working with the same critiquers could help create continuity, but what Corey said also means you should review the comments and decide which ones to make. If you are new to writing - how do you know? I guess you just have to feel it.

  6. This is true, Corey and Kari. We should always listen to our own gut feeling. More often than not, my critters are accurate. Sometimes they do offer opposing advice. That's when you really have to weigh what they're saying and try your best to stay true to the story. Thanks for stopping by.


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