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Blog: This Writing Life


  • Writer's pictureMelissa Stoller

My Revision Process

This post originally appeared on Epic Eighteen.

I’m happy to be posting on the #EPIC18 blog today about the revision process for my debut picture book, SCARLET’S MAGIC PAINTBRUSH (Clear Fork Publishing, August 2018). Scarlet is an ordinary girl who paints perfect pictures with a magic paintbrush, until she loses the brush, and her own extraordinary creativity emerges. For me, the revision process is really where the story takes shape. I start revising right after my first draft, and continue until the book is almost ready for publication. Here’s a look at my three-part revision process - revisions before submission, revisions with my editor, and revisions during the illustration process: Revisions Before Submission I like to write in many drafts, and I consider my first draft a very basic start. As I work on the story, I edit for big picture concepts like structure, plot, story arc, voice, humor, heart, theme, language, readability, and word count. I also edit for small picture concepts such as grammar, word choice, and syntax. I work with my amazing critique partners at this stage to get their valuable input as I polish the draft until it shines. And I have to give a shout out to my mom, who is always my first reader, and to my husband and children who provide their helpful opinions along the way! Revisions with my Editor After Callie Metler-Smith at Clear Fork Publishing bought the manuscript, she assigned me to work with the wonderful art director and editor Mira Reisberg. I am thankful that Mira helped me tighten the manuscript and put the finishing flourishes on the story. Also, Mira paired me with the talented illustrator Sandie Sonke ( I couldn’t be happier with the stunning cover and the sneak peaks of the magical page spreads Sandie has shared! Revisions During the Illustration Process Once I saw some initial thumbnail sketches by Sandie, I knew that I could revise just a bit to let some of Sandie’s illustrations speak for themselves. Although I had been careful when writing to leave room for the illustrator, I realized that I could do more. After consulting with Mira and Sandie, I tweaked a few words. As SCARLET’S MAGIC PAINTBRUSH is heading toward the final stages of publication, I’m excited to see the end results. I know that all my editing and revision work will be worth it when I open the pages of the finished book for the very first time! Thanks for reading about my revision process and good luck with all your editing projects!


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