Friday, October 4, 2013

Revising for an Editor or Agent: Part 2

Revising your story for an agent or editor can be a little different than revising for yourself. Today, writer and editor Kate Fall and YA author Christina Farley talk about the revision process and how they handle editorial suggestions. [For perspectives from other MiG writers, see Revising for an Agent or Editor Part 1].

Kate says:

When I'm revising for myself, I usually have a mental list of "things that bug me about my manuscript." They may be things that nobody has mentioned. They may be things a critique partner told me that resonated. But I am out for me. These are things that bother me, my pet peeves. For example, I don't like disappearing objects. In one manuscript, my main character has a bracelet her boyfriend gave her, and it's stolen by someone she knows. And for my beta readers, that was enough. That made sense. But I would wake up in the middle of the night wondering where that bracelet was, and eventually I changed the ending so that my main character gets her bracelet back.

When I'm revising for an agent request for revisions, I'm listening to their input. Agents often have input like, "I see this a lot. Is it important?" And you know, maybe it's not. The classic example is the first day of school beginning to a novel. It makes sense from a narrative standpoint. But agents see it so often, they know it's overused. It's not necessarily bad, it's just done to death. And that's the input I like from agents and editors. My critique partners can help me build a story, but industry professionals can tell me what parts of the story are too similar to the competition. And that can force me to think deeper, and get beyond my first ideas.

Kate Fall writes middle grade and young adult fiction and is an editor with Entangled Publishing.

Christina says:

My agent’s suggestions are always interesting because he sees my book as something to SELL rather than merely just a story. And this perspective is very important! My little story is getting ready to go out into the world. It has to be unique, perfect and enticing for an editor to want to buy it.

When I'm revising for my editor, I start seeing my book not just being MY book, but my READER’S book. There are moments I have to let go of a favorite line or favorite word because it just doesn’t make sense to the READERS, even if it makes sense to me.

Christina Farley is the author of the YA novel, GILDED, which will be published by Skyscape in Spring 2014.

We'd love to hear your thoughts on how revising for an agent or editor is different than revising for yourself! You can read what MiG Writers Debbie Ridpath Ohi, Andrea Mack and Carmella Van Vleet think about this in Revising for an Editor or Agent: Part 1.


  1. The eyes of a thorough agent is priceless. I love listening to my agent's POV after she's read my work. I'm always amazed at what she sees compared to what I did.

    Lovely post, ladies!

  2. Loved this post! It's always interesting to hear how different agents and editors go about getting their clients to think about their manuscripts and revisions :)


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