Sunday, November 7, 2021

The joys (horrors) of revising ...

Lockdowns are hard and it's fair to say my creativity has taken a wee bit of a hammering over this time. I've kept writing - mostly reviews, blogposts, manuscript assessments and reports but from time to time I've managed a smidge of something a little more creative - while major projects have been sitting this one out I've produced a couple of grown up poems here and there, and done some picture book revising. I've kept submitting things beause this is still possible. And I've had some good news things happening too. 

One of these good news things was seeing three of my books in the Storylines Notable Book AwardsSharing with Wolf illustrated by Nikki Slade Robinson (Scholastic), My Elephant is Blue, illustrated by Vasanti Unka (Puffin [PenguinRH]) and Ko PekaKiwi, illustrated by Isobel Joy Te Aho-White and translated by Pānia Papa. BatKiwi also got a mention - highly commended in the Picture Book Category. I'm very proud of these books and it is a real thrill to have them recognised this way. You can check out the whole glorious list here. Lots of wonderful books across 5 categories, perfect for Christmas gifts for the young people in your lives. 

Recently an article was published in New Zealand with authors talking about what they were doing in lockdown and a bunch of us agreed this would be a cool thing to do with children's authors and illustrators as well. You can check out what we said here

I also thought I'd share this lovely treatise by author Eirlys Hunter on how a little fantasy can end up bringing the real world closer, and how the distance between the two is surprisingly small and the barrier extremely porous for young readers. 

And in the best kind of surprise twist I didn't see coming, I've had another picture book accepted for publication. This one, titled Sun Shower, is to be published by Scholastic NZ. They've also said a tentative yes to another manuscript pending revision. This sort of thing can be thrilling and terrifying in near equal measure. Revising on your own time, for your own purposes is, while sometimes hard, a generally positive experience. You are working to please yourself at a pace of your own choosing. And there is no pressure on the end result, especially in comparison to the original manuscript. Mucked it up? No matter. Try again, or toss it in the bin, the bottom drawer, or bury it six feet under. No one need ever know. We need not ever speak of it again. But a requested revision can be a different beast entirely. Someone is waiting, they know my starting point, and they will be judging my efforts at improvement. It is a nice problem to have but I will be sweating buckets. 

I'll be keeping an original version safe so I can retreat to it if things go awry. I'll be scrutinising the original and asking what its strengths are so I don't lose those along the way. And I'll be trusting my gut as it has served me well in the past. And I am also working on a completely different story in case this one bursts into flames and is reduced to a pile of ash and I need to cheer myself up with a new submission.  

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