Week of July 29, 2012: Revise It, or Bury It?
Tuesday, July 31—Maria Modugno Says . . .
Vice President and Editorial Director
HarperCollins Children’s Books
(And my editor for the Ruby Rose books!)
The overwhelming reason that manuscripts are declined is because they just don’t have that extra spark, something that makes them irresistible. And that quality is the most difficult to define.
There are some things you can check—does the story have a distinctive voice? Does the plot work without relying on coincidence? Does it end with a surprise [such as a] birthday party? How does it sound when you read it aloud, or better yet have someone read it to you. Take care that you are not convincing yourself that it’s a good text.
I’m a saver of scraps. I have a jar of mismatched buttons that I keep on hand just in case. Don’t ever give your manuscript a funeral. Set it aside for a while first underlining the parts you love the best.
Something that isn’t working completely will still have a number of gems you can use somewhere else.