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I'd written, rewritten, and revised. I sent it around to be read and critiqued. I made more changes. I added a few scenes, clarified some details, but most importantly, chopped thousands of words.

I thought I was DONE!

I wasn't.

I revised.

People I trust suggested changes, some of which I used, others I couldn't bring myself to make.

After purging a couple hundred more words, I believed I had a lean mean publisher's dream! This time, yes, finally, it will go somewhere! This new query is hot! This manuscript will be literary agent catnip.

I sent it off, honestly thinking it was READY!

It wasn't.

Not quite.

An agent I really like, after reading the whole thing, made a few suggestions I'd already heard. Of course, anybody's opinion is just that- an opinion- but this settled it. Despite my hard work, this book really was not as done and ready as I thought.

This may feel like a defeat or a setback, and it's always a disappointment to get a rejection, but it can actually be a blessing to be rejected by an agent. Writers never stop learning. I've got the knowledge now to make this book even better. The agent who rejected me- very kindly I must add- has done me a favour.

I'll set aside my stubbornness and pride to make some of those changes. If my critique partners and an agent are all saying the same thing, there must be some truth to it.

It won't be easy. After so many years of work I've gotten so emotionally involved in this story and characters. But rewriting a book for years a big advantage: I no longer believe that every word is precious. I can eliminate whole paragraphs and feel pretty darn good about it. I'm capable of tackling it one more time. As many times as it takes.

As long as it takes to be ready.



  1. Erin Halm said...
    Good for you Heidi. I'm sure the end result will be stronger and tighter than ever. Good luck as you edit.
    Heidi Willis said...
    This is so well said, and I love that it's said now without the feeling of pain! :)

    Distance is such a good aid. There are so many things people have told me to change that I couldn't at first. Then, over time, I'm less attached to the words on the page and more to the story I want to tell.

    You have everything you need for a great book already written. Now you just need to shine it up. Sometimes shining takes a little bit of elbow grease and hard work, but all the same - the greatness is there.

    I'm convinced, now more than ever, that greatness lies in the revisions. Many people can write a book. Only a few can make them great once they've been written.

    marsh to the fore said...
    I love this, Heidi. It's so You! We all have to learn to set aside the hurt that comes when someone we trust says we have to look at that piece of writing still another time.

    Trouble is so worth it! Hooray for Trouble!

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