Revision

Returning to the research. Yes, all of this relates to one nonfiction picture book.

       
  Rewriting is the essence of writing well—where the game is won or lost.
—William Zinsser

That big ole pile of paper and books in the above picture represents three years of research. Today, I return to the resulting nonfiction picture book. After rewriting and revising this manuscript countless times in the past, I’m surprisingly giddy about returning to it yet again. Partly because I just love this story. In fact, I’m proud of the manuscript as it already is. But, there’s something exciting about the revision process. To me, revising is infinitely easier than filling white space with a first, second, or third draft. I’ll once again be swept into another time and place as I look at expanding historical context and smoothing transitions. I’ll get to walk in my subject’s shoes again and revel in his life. Like a sculptor, I’ll get my hands on the words, re-molding, re-shaping, re-polishing.

Reducing my great big story to a picture book length in the first place was a challenge. There was so much wonderfulness about my subject that had to be whittled away from the manuscript in order to keep the word count down. Now, I get to add the very best of it back in. Happiness!

I was sharing my expansion plans with a friend yesterday. We laughed that this is rather like adding hair extensions to a well-coiffed up-do. The challenge is breaking through the current hair spray without letting too many strands run wild.

 

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