I went to a two-day advanced writers workshop in Alpine, Utah, last Friday and Saturday. Jessica Garrison, an editor with Dial Books for Young Readers, was there. (She goes by Jess).
We had 20 attendees including the guest presenters. Many of the attendees have published books; some of them have published many times over. At first I felt a little intimidated but that soon passed and I enjoyed myself. I gained some good information, made some new friends, and took another step closer to publication.
Each of the attendees had the chance to meet one-on-one with Jess for twenty minutes. It was a bit scary but mostly delightful. I would have liked Jess to say she wanted to acquire Jane’s and my book as is, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case. She did, however, love the premise and the world-building and other aspects of our book. She also had some suggestions to make it better. The biggest change suggested is to eliminate the Prologue because she says it reveals too much too soon.
I wasn’t totally surprised because I had had that thought myself. In fact I’d suggested it to Jane even though the Prologue is well written and we’ve revised it multiply times and had a lot of readers who love it. Jane didn’t want to cut it. So in our latest revision, we had shortened it and used part of the cut info in a different place. I’m afraid that was a sort-of bandaid approach to the problem. This time we’ll need to really make a change and just cut it, which will require extensive changes to the first chapter. In the end I think it will be a much better book.
I asked Jess if she’d be interested in reading the manuscript after we’ve made the revisions and she said yes. That was encouraging.
So now, it’s revise revise revise.