You’ve tinkered with revisions based on feedback.
But how do you know when it’s time to do a major revision, or whether it’s time to put it in the drawer? (If you have an agent this is a conversation to be having with them.)
It’s easy to get attached to your work, you’ve gestated the project and watched it grow. However, at some point if the manuscript isn’t grabbing hold of readers you have to make a decision. Here are some helpful tips…
When to revise:
- The topic/theme/genre is still relevant and editors are actively acquiring in that space
- The characters are still speaking to you and you feel constantly drawn back to it (also a sign that the work might not have been fully realized)
- The industry feedback you are getting is supportive and suggesting revisions that are moving in the right direction
- You agree with the feedback you are receiving
When you might want to put it in the drawer:
- The genre is not being acquired actively or that space is overcrowded
- It’s your first novel. Period.
- You are getting form rejections or zero editor feedback
- You’re already toying with or have started writing a new work
But revisions! Ugh…
The idea of a major overhaul is a massive one. The undertaking is huge with possibly minimal results. You have to love, love, love your manuscript and believe in the merits of the underlying spirit of it to want to strip it bare and rework.
The spectrum of revisions starts with minor setting, plot or character traits and spans complete page one rewrites. Now’s not the time to get lazy, if you are committed to revisions you need to be committed to the full spectrum in order to improve the novel and increase saleability.