Friday, September 11, 2009

Monday Musings - Color Coded Critiques

Color-Coded Critiques

Revision is a daunting task. Some writers love it. Others hate it. I’d like to share with you how I revise my manuscripts. Maybe some of you do this, already, but when I met with my editor and editorial director, they were fascinated by what I described as my revision process. The editorial director asked if she could use it in her writing class to help her students. Of course I said, “Yes.”

Then I thought maybe I should share it with you, too. It was born out of my obsessive need for clarity, thus color identification for each critiquer's suggestion.

I write the whole manuscript, not stopping to correct or change. Then I let it sit for 3-5 months, while I work on something else, of course. Then, when I take it out to revise it, it’s like someone else’s work and I can see it more objectively.

I make the first round of changes in red. A second read through might alter a word or phrase in blue. Then it’s ready to be sent to my critique group.

Each of my writing partners is assigned a color (although they are unaware of it). Their comments and suggestions are added to the manuscript in green, purple, orange, and turquoise.

When I’m finished my manuscript looks like a rainbow, but it’s tighter, stronger and hopefully, more saleable.

I change everything back to black and begin my submissions. In fact, I’m off to submit a new picture book, this morning.

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