Getting Into It – Starting the Revision Process

I have to confess, I was nervous about the revisions for “Mik Murdoch, Boy Superhero”. It’s a book I’ve put a lot of myself into. What kinds of changes would my editor (and, by extension, my publisher) require?

I was pretty lucky, actually. My editor, Robert Runte’ sent me the manuscript with all the revision requests marked PLUS an extra comments sheet. I think he was handling me with kid gloves so I wouldn’t spontaneously combust when I saw the edits. 🙂

I was grateful for his comments, but at the same time a little worried. What horrors awaited me?

I waited a day before I opened the actual manuscript and, while there is some work to do, it wasn’t quite as bad as it could have been.

So what kinds of things did I get called on? Well, there were a few things that could be common to a lot of first-time writers. So what were some of the common ones?

  1. Show don’t tell. It doesn’t really come up until the second half of the book. I think that is because I was starting to rush the story to get it finished.
  2. Make sure the characters act true to themselves. The one example was a politician I had in the story. He was basically thumbing his nose at my character because he was a kid. A real politician wouldn’t actively offend anyone. I also had a bully who was a bit two-dimensional because her motivations were pretty sparse. I’ve been challenged to make all the characters vibrant and interesting.
  3. Make sure the dialogue is true to the character. My hero, Mik Murdoch, is actually nine-years-old in this first book (he ages with each book). My initial thought was to make him a twelve-year-old reminiscing about when he was nine.  I had this ugly mish-mash of dialogue that was sometimes nine, sometimes twelve and sometimes something else. It didn’t really flow the way it was supposed to. I’ve now abandoned the reminiscing tone and just have the character as a nine-year-old. I was worried about what that would do to my audience, but, I think, the story is sophisticated enough that even adults will enjoy reading it.
  4. Wrong tense of words.
Those were the obvious ones I’ve noticed. In total, there were about four hundred comments, changes and rewrites requested. It sounds like a lot, I know, but Robert assures me it is pretty typical. For my own peace-of-mind, I’m obliged to take him at his word. 🙂
That takes me to how I plan to approach the edits. Many of them are small, but there are four hundred of them and I need to get this manuscript back to Robert by the end-of-September (that’s my deadline, not theirs; I’m hoping theirs is longer and I beat the clock, so-to-speak). Some of the edits are very small and others are much bigger. How do I do it and stay sane?
I think the route I will take is to target completion of a number of pages per night. Say ten. That should allow me to finish on time and even allow a little room for those times I cannot revise.
That’s the plan, anyway.
I’ll keep you updated.


  1. This particular book is coming out via Five Rivers Publishing, however, the kinds of edits I have here can be acquired from any developmental editor. I do have a book coming out via self-publish this year but that is another story. 🙂

  2. You want to be done the revisions by end of Sept? I gave you 400 changes! That’s supposed to keep you busy until at least early November, which is the earliest point at which I could possibly work your manuscript back into my schedule. The last guy took 8 months to respond to my edits. Much more reasonable!

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