January 16, 2009

Time Crunch Editing and Submissions

I had found this great opportunity from Firebrandt Literaryoffering a query holiday. It was a great opportunity – if you have a novel, you were offered the opportunity to send in the first chapter and if you had a children’s picture book – the whole thing. They will review and if interested, notify you by Feb. 1st 2009. Anyone who has ever submitted anything knows that is a quick response and the opportunity for a writer to submit his or her work without a query letter – fantastic.

I shared this with my writing group and many of them took the opportunity to look into it, and apparently those who can be a little more cautious/suspicious than I am about an opportunity like this gave it the ‘thumbs up and began weeding down their own choices as you were only allowed to submit one story.

I myself was considering one of my children’s picture books – but I was not sure. My writing group had given me positive feedback on this story and I was told to start submitting. I then found a children’s writing group in the area and presented it to them – they shot it down, tore it up and sat there with a that ‘what the F@#$ was that’ look on their face. It was brutal. The kindest thing that came out of it was that several suggested that it be submitted to parenting magazines instead as it was too long and appeared to be more for adults anyway. I wanted it to be one of those universal picture books which are written more for a child but affect many adults as well. I was very down after this beating for a long time.

I also didn’t agree and put it aside for awhile – then I posted on the children’s stories board at the Writer’s Digest site and received some fairly positive advice from one of the thread’s experts. She said she could definitely see it as a children’s book but agreed that it had to be whitled down, but offered no real suggestions where. I appreciated her comments but put the story aside again.

Yesterday when I was reminded it was the deadline date – I quickly pulled the story out and without thinking began editing – with the thought in mind of what can go – by the time I was finished I had somehow deleted about 1000 words and I felt it was a more cohesive and appropriate child story.  I made the deadline and I was pleased.

I wrote this story 20-some years ago and re-write after re-write, I think it can’t be fixed anymore – yet, here it was again. Now I am a little worried that people will think that is the only story I focus on – believe me it’s not and it is true, I have put it away and done nothing with it for long periods of time, but it is one of those stories I just can’t seem to let go.

Hopefully this will be the time, that I can let it go. I would love to have the team reviewing it accept it, but if that is not the case, I am okay – the editing I did actually now makes it much more marketable to re-submit for other opportunities as well.

I am just left wondering if I need a time crunch such as this one, to do my best editing? How do you edit your stuff and when do you let go?


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