Nancy's Books

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Editor Request to Rewrite

I’ve been fortunate this year to receive contracts on three books, possibly a fourth if my revision holds up to editorial scrutiny. About a month ago in my mailbox, I received a return on a manuscript, which usually means a rejection. Not this time. The editor asked me to change the character from an adult (king) to a child (prince) protagonist. Normally, my characters are children, but some popular pictures books of late have quirky adult character so I gave the idea a try.

My quirky character didn’t resonate with the editor but she liked the basic story with its universal problem, so she asked me to rewrite with a child as the main character. No problem. I’d change some narrative, some dialog, some events. Easy peasy!

As I began revising, I soon realized that what worked well for a quirky king didn’t work at all for a young prince. Much of the story (as it turned out, ALL of the story) was not appropriate for a child protagonist: the world view was too mature, the dialog didn’t fit the characters, and even the names had to be changed. 

So what does a writer do? This writer does a complete rewrite. When I completed the revision, about fifteen words matched the original story. That doesn’t mean that the text of the original has to be discarded. Mary Higgins Clark offered sage advice about cutting large blocks of text from a manuscript. She keeps it in a file to be used in a future book.   

Not only do I have a new manuscript, I now have a few bits of dialog and narrative in an old manuscript from which I can pull as some point. Those bits are gold in my literary vault. 

Call for submissions for Adult Writers

NewBBay’s Science Fiction Contest is open to all eligible writers submitting original works of 1,000 words or greater. We suggest a range of 1,000 to 30,000 words per piece, total. Each writer may submit up to two pieces. International entries are welcome, though submitted pieces must be in English. Writers must sign up at, submit a “Writer Petition”, and post their work through our publication platform. Writers must include the word count and appropriate contest tag ( #SciFiContest ) in the description.

Deadline August 15, 2016.
Submission guidelines at

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