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On Friday, I finished the biggest, most intense revision of my middle-grade novel.  When I first submitted it to fab agent, it was 30,000 words.  She loved the main character's voice, her lists, the comic strip she creates, and the humiliating but oh-so-humorous moments.  She asked for an exclusive revision and wanted to see more of my MC's strengths, and another layer to the story by adding an external goal to help push the action from chapter to chapter.  I ended up adding two new external goals (and finding a way to tie them together to show why they're both super important to her).  WOW...I can't believe how much stronger my manuscript is and how much more confident and determined my main character is!  My first full round of revisions brought the word count up to 48,600 words, and I was able to whittle it down to a little over 44,000 words before sending the requested revision back to her.  

It felt fantastic to hit the send button!  After happy dancing, I took a day off with my family to celebrate, then attacked a picture book on Sunday that was screaming for attention and read through all the notes of the MG I was revising when the agent first contacted me.  It feels great to jump back into that revision, and in order to make the time pass quickly, I'm going to see how much of my MG and PB revisions I can get done before hearing back from the agent.  It helps keep my mind off the wait and makes me even more productive than usual.

I want to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who cheered, gave me incredible feedback, and supported me throughout this revision.  I feel so lucky to have amazing friends like you.  (((Hugs)))

I was so busy revising, that I didn't have a chance to share some photos of my puppy's first birthday.  It's hard to believe my adorable little 6.2 pound Bullmasador is one already...and that Lollipop is somewhere in the 80 pound range (unless she gained even more weight since our last vet visit).  She loves curling up around my chair while I write, and is such a sweet dog.
Here's what Lolly looked like when we adopted her from The Humane Society in September and how she looks at one year.

And this is Becca fork feeding her the birthday breakfast eggs she made, and giving her a treat she and Sammi baked:

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( 25 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 10th, 2010 10:10 pm (UTC)
Happy Birthday to Lollipop!! And how sweet the girls made her birthday treats:)

Congrats on completing that crazy major revision, Mindy...AND...good luck!
Aug. 10th, 2010 10:10 pm (UTC)
Um, this would be Deb!
Aug. 11th, 2010 03:04 am (UTC)
LOL,thanks Deb for the congrats and all the help whipping my MG into shape.
Aug. 10th, 2010 10:11 pm (UTC)
Good-looking pooch, Mindy. Congrats and fingers crossed for the agent revision, I know how hard you worked on it - if there's anyone on this earth who deserves fabulous news, it's you.
Aug. 11th, 2010 03:10 am (UTC)
Re: Woohoo!
Thanks so much, Mike. I know a certain someone whose amazing sense of humor is going to conquer the editorial world soon...and he's a hard worker who deserves fabulous news, too.

I can't wait to celebrate again when you shout the great news...I have a feeling those editors will be fighting over you soon.
Aug. 11th, 2010 01:45 pm (UTC)
Re: Woohoo!
I hope you're right, Mindy - I guess I'm gonna find out! Also, kudos on diving back in and working on another manuscript, I'm also doing that. It really does help make the waiting more tolerable, and of course continuing to write more books is part of the overarching goal too...
Aug. 11th, 2010 05:05 pm (UTC)
Re: Woohoo!
So true! It's the best way to make it through this kind of wait without ripping all your hair out...and it feels great to have an extra push to work on another manuscript.

Good luck with your WIP! I'm chilling the cyber champagne for you--let me know when it's time to pop the cork. :)
Aug. 10th, 2010 10:24 pm (UTC)
That is so awesome, Mindy. And you definitely have the right attitude, to plunge back into your writing instead of just waiting. Also, I can't believe how fast and big your puppy grew!
Aug. 11th, 2010 03:12 am (UTC)
Thanks, Karen. I think I'd go crazy if I sat around waiting for an e-mail or for the phone to ring. It feels great to be productive...especially since I have so many manuscripts screaming for attention after spending so much time on my revision.
Aug. 10th, 2010 11:36 pm (UTC)
Great news Mindy. I hope agent comes back happy with the revs. You deserve it for all the hard work and revisions you've been doing.
Enjoy the picture books and middle grade! They should be easy now after this one :)
Gosh Lollipop grew a lot!
Aug. 11th, 2010 01:03 am (UTC)
Happy B-day to the pup! Good luck with the agent. I remember the first time I had someone ask for revisions and it helped me take my story to another level. It was a great feeling. Enjoy the moment. :0)
Aug. 11th, 2010 03:28 am (UTC)
Thanks for Lolly's birthday wishes. She was one happy, spoiled pup! And thanks for the agent luck, too. :)

I love finding ways to bring my manuscripts to the next level. This was actually my third revision request (second for this manuscript). I've always walked away feeling like the manuscript is much stronger...but this time, I'm absolutely amazed at how far it has come. The agent has been incredibly helpful...I lost track of how many e-mails she's sent, and we've brainstormed over the phone three times. She even went through the editor's critique with me and gave me her thoughts and suggestions about how to revise the beginning again.

I can't wait to see what she thinks!
Aug. 11th, 2010 03:19 am (UTC)
Thanks, Anna. I think she'll love it, but am trying not to get my hopes up too high. She had loved the changes I made to the first few chapters before sending ten pages in for a conference critique in June. She hasn't seen the changes I've made after getting great feedback from an editor at the conference or anything past chapter 4 after adding in the new goals and making sure my main character is much more positive and determined than in the version she first saw.

It was hard getting back into the MG revision after all this time. I know the other manuscript so well, and it's been months since I've even looked at this one. I went through all my notes, brainstormed, did a few character interviews (and plan to do more soon) and am loving the story as I'm working my way past the first few chapters. There's so much I've already changed...I'm not sure if it's because I've grown as a writer since I last looked at it, or because I'm seeing it with fresh eyes after letting it sit for so long. I'm guessing it's a combination of both!

I still can't believe how little Lollipop used to be. We carried her around for the first few months.

I hope your YA revision is coming along great! You've been working so hard on it. I can't wait to cheer when you're ready to hit the Send button.
Aug. 11th, 2010 01:31 am (UTC)
YaY Mindy!! I hope the agent gets back to you... but I am so happy you are working and not just tapping your toe waiting!
Aug. 11th, 2010 03:34 am (UTC)
Thanks so much, Laura. I'm definitely not the toe-tapping type (but I am addicted to checking my e-mail).

I hope everything is going great with you!
Aug. 11th, 2010 01:48 am (UTC)
Lolly is adorable!! Congrats on hitting that send button - I'll keep fingers crossed for you!
Aug. 11th, 2010 03:38 am (UTC)
Thanks so much, Kate. :)
Aug. 11th, 2010 04:44 am (UTC)
I have a couple of questions, if you're comfortable answering them. Was there an external goal before the revision? And what do you mean by strengths? Like she was a good best friend, or able to keep a secret? Was the agent concerned because the strengths were not showing before? I just get worried that when I send and get a revision request, (and I WILL!) that I won't be able to do it. My fingers are crossed that the agent will love your revision and sign you up ASAP!
Aug. 11th, 2010 05:26 pm (UTC)
Re: Revision-Hooray!
There was an external goal before the revision--it was for the MC to find (and keep) forever friends.

I was going to paraphrase what fab agent said, but it's probably easier to understand if I copy the paragraph here:

There's so much I loved about this story. I loved Ruby's voice, her lists, the comic strip, and the humiliating but oh-so-humorous moments like the training bra scene. But as much as I liked Ruby, I would have liked to seen more of her strengths. Ruby's shyness and insecurity make her an authentic main character, but I sometimes thought we saw too much of her insecurities (especially in front of her classmates), which puts her in danger of appearing weak. And while I certainly related to Ruby's desire to find a forever best friend, I wondered whether that goal alone was enough to drive the story and maintain enough tension to keep readers hooked. Perhaps another layer to the story--an external goal--would give the story a clearer sense of direction?

And she was 1000% spot on for every suggestion she made! In fact, adding the new goals automatically helped me up the MC's strengths because it let her determination and enthusiasm shine through from the start. It still increases throughout the book, but the old beginning did make her seem a bit too weak, and it's possible I might have lost readers (or editor interest) because of that.

All revision requests are different, and the best advice I can give you is to really think about what an agent or editor is saying. I feel like this agent is the perfect match for me because I agree completely with everything she says. We definitely have the same vision for my novel...and she finds ways to help me make it the best it can possibly be without making it her novel. If for some reason an editor or agent ever makes a suggestion that doesn't feel right for my character, then I'd try to figure out why that person made the suggestion and see if I can attack it from another angle. And sometimes, a suggestion that doesn't feel right at first seems like the perfect solution days, weeks, even months later. I always keep them in the back of my mind, and often play around to see if they might be able to work.

I'm a fast worker...but this process needed more time than my typical revision because I had to dig deeper than ever. When your time comes, don't rush it. If you have a nagging feeling that something isn't as strong as it can be, let it sit for a bit and come back with fresh eyes to see if you can strengthen it.

Definitely make sure you have a fantastic critique group or crit buddies to help you along the way. I feel extremely lucky to have mine! When I read the last chapters of my revision to my weekly crit group, they clapped...which felt amazing! Especially after they gave me some HUGE suggestions in the last thirty pages of my revision. I love having my online crit buddies too, and they really went out of their way to give me quick and thoughtful crits so I could make the revision as strong as possible.

Hmm...now that I typed all this out, I just might have to use some of it in a future blog post. Maybe it will help other writers, too.

Thanks for sending luck my way, and good luck with your manuscript!
Aug. 11th, 2010 12:33 pm (UTC)
She is a beautiful dog. You've worked so hard on this revision. Good things are going to happen. :)
Aug. 11th, 2010 05:27 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Sharon. And thank you so much for all your help! I have a feeling great things are going to happen for both of us. :)
Aug. 11th, 2010 08:31 pm (UTC)
You're welcome, Mindy. I'm crossing my fingers for all of us who are in the trenches.:)
Aug. 11th, 2010 08:01 pm (UTC)
Fingers crossed that the agent LOVES the revision!!!
Aug. 13th, 2010 02:15 am (UTC)
Thanks. :)
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 13th, 2010 02:15 am (UTC)
Thank you. :)
( 25 comments — Leave a comment )


Mindy's head shot
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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