How do published authors take an "okay" manuscript and turn it into something that grabs an editor? And after that, how do they work with editors to incorporate yet more changes? Look no further for your answers than Sandy Asher's new book, Writing It Right!: How Successful Children's Authors Revise and Sell Their Stories. It's a gold mine.
Whether you're writing picture books or middle grade or young adult novels, Writing It Right! (400 pages!) will show you how to pinpoint your weak areas-and how to fix them. Sandy uses nine essential questions to guide you through the process. Each question is critical to creating a solid manuscript.
In the book, each story (full picture book or a chapter from a longer work) is analyzed in several ways. You'll see before and after versions. The before version highlights areas that need work. The after version shows the changes.
In another section, you will see the actual line edits that brought about the changes. This includes the type of detailed comments an editor at a publishing house might make after accepting your manuscript. You will also see several versions as the author works through the problems and issues, ending with the version that was published.
Sandy knows her stuff. She's had more than twenty books for children published, has edited five collections of fiction, and has published well over thirty plays. My girls read her books growing up, and I've seen a couple of her plays produced, and they're excellent. This is a "must have" book.