Monday, August 20, 2012

The Revision Decision

So I’m in this fantastic situation of revising my manuscript for a couple of unbelievably great agents who loved it, but who want me to turn it into a YA novel because they feel teenagers and adults will eat it up*.

At first I thought this would be really easy. “Sure,” I said. “I’ll get to work on that right away!” After cracking my knuckles, I sat down and opened my manuscript. And then I came down with a case of Complete Brain Spaz, otherwise known as CBS. (What?! It’s not just a network—it’s a thing, I promise!)

See, when I envisioned doing these revisions, I thought I’d just go by the synopsis I’d prepared for a YA version. Easy as pie (which, when you think about it, doesn’t really make sense. Who said pie was easy? Honestly, I’ve never been able to bake a really good … *sigh* Okay, okay, I’ll get back on track.)

My question is, how much of a risk should you take when doing revisions? Changing a novel from adult to YA changes a lot of things, including the dynamics of the characters’ relationships. I could rewrite the start, which would be like writing the prequel and merging it with the current story—but then there’s the chance I’ll be shredding what the agents loved about the novel in the first place! Argh! 

I know you guys can’t answer this for me. There is no simple solution. Part of me is hoping that by putting this post out in the world, the right answer will come and smack me upside the head.

But for those of you who’ve been where I am, how much of a risk did you take?

*Caution: eating novels may cause indigestion.


  1. The biggest risk I ever took was turning a first person POV novel into third person POV. I loved it so much, I never went back to first person. I've written three other manuscripts now in third person POV.

    But that is not the same as what you are doing. And you know I loved your story the way it was. I am sure it can be something wonderful with YA characters, but it won't be the same story.

    I think, in the end, you've got to decide whether you're willing to let go of the story you wrote and write a different one -- an alternate universe one, where the characters are similar but not exactly the same, where the plot is similar, and yet changes in drastic ways.

    I feel for your dilemma. I'm not sure what I would do in your position. Feel free to email me if you want brainstorming help!

  2. Wow! Changing POVs is a huge task. But isn't it funny that it turned out to be something you preferred.

    I guess I have to bite the bullet and rewrite. There are definite advantages to changing it up, but it's finding that balance so that it still *feels* like the same story, but unfolds in a different way, that is the super tricky part.

    I think I'll definitely be emailing you soon, Dianne! Thank you! :)

    1. Did you ultimately end up revising it? I'm querying a YA novel, and I'm curious. I'm wondering what the querying process has been like for you, too!

    2. I did! I started querying the YA version recently after sending the revisions back to the requesting agent, and I've had a ton of requests, which has been overwhelming. So it seems I made the right decision. :)

      Good luck with querying, and thanks for stopping by! :D

  3. Oh, that sounds really hard. But I'm sure you can do it!