Friday, February 7, 2014

How to Tackle Your Edit Letter Without Self-Destructing

When I got my first big edit letter, I about collapsed into a sobbing mess. There was just so much I had to do that I was completely convinced I wouldn't be able to do it. So much for having faith in myself right? Anyway. Believe it or not, the first letter came before I even signed my contract for GATEWAY. I've mentioned this before, but there were a lot of revisions that needed to be done. I read that letter over and over again and had to let it all sink in for a few days. I had absolutely no idea where to start.

About a week later, I came up with a way to make the edits less terrifying (if that's even possible). I created a map key. You know those little "keys" you learn about in elementary school that mark designated spots on maps? Like this: 

Yep. Except mine went a little something like this: 

A triangle = easy
A square = medium
A star = holy sh**balls (Not kidding. That's what I put for the BIG changes. haha)

I put these symbols next to each bullet point, essentially giving it a sort of rating, and started with the easiest. So as I went throughout the manuscript, I would then put a line through that bullet point and move on. Let me tell you, it feels amazing watching that list dwindle line by line. It gives you a visual of what you've completed, which helped me feel a bit more accomplished. 

Having some kind of order to the madness made the edits less complicated and I didn't fall apart while doing them. I think little things like this are great tools to keep yourself focused. As writers, we have to find an easier way to accomplish our goals somehow, because there are just so many things about what we do that are hard enough as it is. And this was one of those things that made all the difference. So next time you have big revisions to tackle, I highly recommend trying this method. You'll be amazed how well it works. Cheers!

Heather Marie is a YA writer who loves all things creepy. She enjoys writing horror/supernatural stories that make you question that feeling of someone watching over your shoulder. Heather spends most of her days reading and writing and plotting her next idea. When she's not in her writing cave, she enjoys watching creepy TV shows with her husband and picking apart plot holes in movies.

Her YA debut, THE GATEWAY THROUGH WHICH THEY CAME, releases August 25th, 2014 from Curiosity Quills.
You can find her on Twitter @: And visit her website @:

6 secret replies:

  1. What a brilliant idea. I'll have to try that one. When one gets a list of a whole buncha changes, one wonders if one is going to be rewriting the entire novel.

    1. Mine was more about world building, which made a lot of sense. So there were a lot of changes that needed to be made in the regard. Otherwise, yep, GATEWAY is the same as its always been. :)

  2. I just love crossing things off lists. So satisfying.

    Can't wait to see you debut.

  3. Great advise. When you break them down and classify edits like that it makes them seem more manageable which is key because as you know, half the battle with revision is getting into that editing mindset :)

  4. Ooh nice idea. I have agent notes to go through starting this weekend and I'm figuring out how best to approach.

  5. This is a great idea! I'm so saving this post on case I'm lucky enough to ever need it. :)