All week long I’ve been hosting an event called Revision Week on my writers’ advice site DearEditor.com. It’s been so fantastic!
Revision Week brings together eight prolific, bestselling, award-winning authors for a week of revision tips, insights, and stories from the trenches. Each day I post a new interview in the hopes that the writers who visit DearEditor.com can learn from writers who turn first drafts into lauded books every day. To make it extra fun, I’ve been giving away a free partial edit each day, with a full manuscript edit giveaway lined up for Saturday.
Here are the amazing writers who have made Revision Week so inspiring that readers have asked for it to be an annual event (and I’ve agreed wholeheartedly!):
Cynthia Leitich Smith, bestselling YA gothic novelist, picture book writer, short story writer, and popular children’s lit blogger: “Back when every novel I wrote was wholly new, I used to write a “discovery draft” wherein, after some prewriting, I plunged in and wrote a full story (with a beginning, middle, and end—say, 35,000 to 60,000 words) to get to know my protagonists, their goals and their world. When I was done, I would print it. Read it. Toss it. And delete the file.”
Kathleen Krull, author of more than 60 books, especially picture books and biographies for young readers: “When I get to the point of taking out commas and putting them back in again, I feel ready to send it off.”
R.L. LaFevers, author of the 13 novels for young people, including the popular middle grade series Theodosia Throckmorton and Nathaniel Fludd Beastologist, and now the forthcoming His Fair Assassin YA trilogy: “There is a point where you aren’t necessarily making it better—just making it different. Or so I try to tell myself.”
Henry Winkler, Lin Oliver, and Theo Baker, popular chapter book collaborators: “[With collaborations] you have to be very flexible in your negotiations so both parties come away feeling ownership of the final draft, and also very sensitive not to make it a critique of your partner’s talents but a decision of what works best at any given moment in the manuscript.”
Mark A. Clements, horror/suspense author, screenwriter, and prolific ghostwriter: “I never share even slightly rough material and I don’t seek out advice on how to ‘fix’ something. I don’t believe in writing by committee.”
Nathan Bransford, top blogger and former literary agent-turned-author of the Jacob Wonderbar middle grade books: “I was a very hands-on agent. I always thought it was important to make sure the manuscript was as good as possible before going out to editors.”
If you’re curious about what else these folks have to say, click over to Revision Week and check out each interview.