Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Smoothing out wrinkles

Last night as I tightened up a second round of editor requested revisions, I was taken back to my childhood.

We had an old couch in our living room that was full of holes, and covered with the residue from spaghetti, stuck on silly-putty, and muck dried over from spilled Kool-Aid. There were four of us boys, and we took no sympathy on that poor old couch. To make it presentable, my mom bought some inexpensive couch covers. Inexpensive is probably not the right word — they were just plain cheap. Covering it was a chore; After tucking and smoothing down one side of the cover, the other end came loose from the couch. Once the other end was tucked back, it caused a big fold across the center of the couch. Fix the fold, and the part of the cover along the floor became lopsided. Covering that couch was never easy, or done very quickly, and as soon as you got it right, someone walked up and sat down, messing it up again.

That's how revising a picture book manuscript is. Delete that one passage of brilliance, that clever line that you wrote, and are betting will someday be quoted in Publisher’s Weekly, and suddenly your story is lopsided. You straighten things out, and it creates another imbalance. Change words at the end of the story, and you need to make consistent changes throughout. I spent about three hours last night doing just that, and now my couch...er, my manuuscript is finished. And, though the editor said that there’d probably be a few more rounds of revisions, I’m positive that we are about finished.

Funny thing, I've sat on these revisions all summer. My original intent was to wait and resubmit after the SCBWI national conference in August. The editor will be speaking there, and I wanted to resist the urge go pester her. But, now that it is finished, I have this nagging feeling that my book needs to be published pronto, before someone else publishes this story. Ok, I know that sounds amateurish, but, well...

1 comment:

rindawriter said...

I doubt this editor is going to go and get another author for your topic, brotha! And if, by chance, another book gets out there on the same topic as yours...well there's always the good, the bad, and the EXCELLENT! It's why I'm studying plot right now...I don't like to do the cover tucking either, reminds me of the dentist...checking the fit of my new crown..AAAH!