I’ve submitted my stories so many places and rarely do I hear more than crickets stuffed inside form rejection letters. The crickets are a bit annoyed but not harmed in the making of this blog post.
So you’ll understand my delight when a recent rejection returned with feedback!
Say what?! Insert happy dance in the coffee shop (it’s okay they know I’m weird already). But a rush reading of the edits revealed a story a mere ghost of my original… hey there’s those crickets again.
The “new version” of my story was better than my own but it no longer felt like my story.
The character voice was different. The descriptions deeply fantastic (me sitting with a thesaurus and dictionary takes hours to find one good word sometimes). The thoughts about how the pictures would look were delightful.
So how do you take a wonderfully edited piece of golden advise and make it yours again?
I asked my writing buddies the same question and here’s what we came up with:
- Change the voice again! For me I switched it back to how I had it with a rearrangement of words and revision of dialogue tags.
- Find the parts you can’t live without. In both pieces, I went through and highlighted descriptions I couldn’t bear to part with. (Don’t tell me to kill my darlings if you aren’t doing it either).
- Follow the structure of the stronger piece. The revised version moved organically and I wanted it in mine. So finding the structure and plucking it out to overlay my story was essential.
- Now take the overall piece and distill what the editor is trying to tell you about your writing and go apply it to your other stories. For me, this came through as a lack of thinking visually for a picture book. For you, it could be flow, pacing, structure- look for it all.
I hope you can use these ideas in your own works and edits. But for now I’m off to feed the crickets a newly revised version of my story.