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Digging deeper than ever into my revision

Mindy's head shot
It's amazing how deep you can really dig into a manuscript and how parts that seemed to work from the beginning suddenly aren't strong enough.  It's a long, hard process...but it's also really fun, too.  I love learning new things about my characters, and often get up and happy dance around my office when I make a breakthrough.

I sent Mom Wars to three wonderful beta readers right before I went on vacation with my family.  Even though I thought about my novel a lot, I only worked on picture books and critiques while I was away for ten days. 

Here are photos of my girls hanging out with their grandpa (who they haven't seen in way too long because we haven't been to NY in years) and the unusual band that played next to us at Jekyll and Hyde (one of our favorite restaurants in NYC).

I found out that Mom Wars is great...but it could be even better.  So I dug in deeper than ever because I'm determined to make it knock-your-socks-off fantastic.  The feedback was incredibly helpful (thanks again a million times over, awesome beta readers), and the time I spent away from my novel helped me see it in a new way.  Sometimes I zoom through areas, immediately knowing how to make them stronger.  Other times, I get stuck on a paragraph or two for more than a day.  But I'm constantly moving forward, and loving every minute of this revision.  

I'm planning to make Mom Wars as strong as possible, get a little more feedback, and hope to find out that it's bullet proof enough to send.  It's hard to hold back sometimes--it's been quite a while since I've submitted anything.  But it's exciting to know that I'll have a really strong and totally unshopped middle-grade novel to send out soon.  I have a feeling you'll all hear me celebrating when I finally hit the send button!

I'll take a short break to dedicate some quality time to the picture books I've been neglecting, then roll up my sleeves and get ready to tackle revisions on the MG I wrote in November--My Sister is NOT Human.  I've missed working on it, and can't wait!

I usually write the first draft of my novels during NaNoWriMo (sometimes in as short as 11 days).  Then, I send it in chunks to my critique groups as I revise.  I do at least several full rounds of revision, interview my characters, and dig as deep as possible.  I also try to bring each manuscript to at least one workshop or intensive.  When it's as strong as possible. I send it out to a few betas, revise, revise, revise.  Then I try to have at least one or two fresh eyes to make sure I've done everything possible to whip a manuscript into shape before sending it out.  How do you usually work on revisions? Add This Blog to the JacketFlap Blog Reader Site Meter
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Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Apr. 1st, 2011 09:31 pm (UTC)
Your first line is exactly what is happening to me lately. But I'm not too upset about the changes because I know that all my hard work is making the book much stronger.

Andrea www.andrea-mack.blogspot.com
mindyalyse
Apr. 3rd, 2011 05:41 am (UTC)
I know what you mean. As much as I want to be able to submit it, I want it to be fantastic, not just good or great. I love having 'aha' moments that let me dig deeper into the story and characters! Good luck on your revision, Andrea.
karenbschwartz
Apr. 2nd, 2011 12:01 am (UTC)
Sounds like you're getting close to finishing, Mindy. It's great that you've had such nice feedback on it. I love the titles of your MG novels. Let me know if you ever want to exchange full manuscripts, I think we both write contemporary MG with humor.
mindyalyse
Apr. 3rd, 2011 05:47 am (UTC)
Thanks so much, Karen! It's definitely taking longer than I thought, but I'm going to keep digging until I'm positive I've done everything possible to make my MG shine.

You're right--we do seem to have similar styles. Most of my betas write YA--I'd love to swap MG fulls with you! I probably won't be ready until close to the end of the week, but I'll e-mail you tomorrow. :)
brookefavero.blogspot.com
Apr. 2nd, 2011 03:41 pm (UTC)
I'm currently up to my nose in revision as well. I thought I was almost done until I got to this scene and it screamed plot dump. I'm glad I found it but it needs a brutal rewrite. Hang in and keep going, it will be worth it. I feel my writing grows the most during revision.
mindyalyse
Apr. 3rd, 2011 05:49 am (UTC)
Thanks, Brooke. You hang in there, too. It's much better to know now, so you can make it shine before sending it out. And you're right--revisions definitely help us grow as writers. It's good practice, too, because no matter how strong a novel is, chances are an agent or editor will still want you to revise.

Good luck with your revision. :)
HillaryHomzie
Apr. 7th, 2011 04:34 pm (UTC)
congrats
It's sounds like the time away from your WIP and the beta comments have left you newly inspired. I definitely think it's much easier to revise when you have time away from your WIP and can almost look at it as if someone else wrote it.
mindyalyse
Apr. 17th, 2011 06:03 am (UTC)
Re: congrats
Oh wow--I thought I replied to this Hillary. So sorry about that!

I agree--time away from a WIP + Fantastic beta feedback = wonderful 'aha' moments!

In earlier stages, I can keep working on revisions, especially when I have input from my critique groups. After reading the full a zillion times, it definitely helps to stay away for a while.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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Mindy's head shot
mindyalyse
Mindy Alyse Weiss
I write humorous middle-grade novels with heart and quirky picture books.

I'm an Administrator on the SCBWI Blueboard, the FL SCBWI Newsletter Editor and Critique Group Coordinator, and a proud member of From The Mixed Up Files...of Middle-Grade Authors

I've been married for twenty years and have two beautiful daughters, an adventurous Bullmasador adopted from The Humane Society, and an adorable Beagle/Pointer mix pup who was rescued from the Everglades.

I've been published in Highlights three times and placed in the 80th Writer's Digest Competition.

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