Revision Week Archive

Every spring, hosts prolific authors for a week of revision tips, insights, and stories from the trenches. You can read those interviews here, learning from writers who turn first drafts into lauded books every day. Next spring, join for Revision Week to read the new crop of interviews and enter the daily drawings for Free Partial Edits and the grand prize Full Manuscript Edit giveaway.



This year’s Revision Week may be over, but you can still read all the insightful interviews. Just click on the photos below:


MarlaFrazee-225x300 croppedMarla Frazee, two-time Caldecott Honor-winning picture book author/illustrator: “I don’t think of revising as revising. It’s more a question of, Are we getting somewhere?”

Jean FerrisJean Ferris, award-winning author of nineteen young adult novels: I tend to write what amounts to an expanded outline for the first draft, and each draft gets longer as I understand more and more what the book and its characters are about.” 

Joni Rodgers croppedJoni Rodgers, best-selling novelist and ghostwriter: “[Ghostwriting] is the ultimate test of ‘Seek first to understand, then to be understood.’ I listen, ask questions, and revamp until we find what feels right.” 

Warren_FahyxWarren Fahy, best-selling author of science-based thrillers: Wherever [my advance readers] stop reading a manuscript, I fix it so that nobody wants to stop there again. I pay attention to what they don’t say as much as to what they do say.”

Denise Grover SwankDenise Grover Swank,best-selling author of YA, NA, and novels for adults. “It’s not unusual for me to write a first draft and then cut one-third to half the book out and start over again.”


Larry Dane BrimnerLarry Dane Brimner, award-winning author of 150 books for readers of all ages. “The number of drafts it takes to get any manuscript “right” is directly related to the amount of time I’ve spent thinking about a project before I stand in front of my computer station to compose.”

Laura GriffinLaura Griffin, New York Times bestselling romance writer, with 11 acclaimed novels. “I always try to remember that no matter how compelling a plot is, the reader is really in it for the characters. So I try to make sure I focus plenty of attention on character arc so that the story will have an emotional punch.”

BHbySonyaBruce Hale, award-winning author/illustrator of nearly 30 books for kids. “When I can’t find anything else to tinker with, and I have that general feeling that if I mess with it much more, the entire souffle will collapse in a soggy heap — that’s when I know it’s the final draft.”

Matthew_s_Portrait_-30__30Matthew J. Kirby, award-winning author of five novels for young adults, including an installment in the bestselling Infinity Ring series. “My confidence in how the characters and scenes are working doesn’t seem tied in anyway to the number of times I’ve revised them, but to my general awareness of the story as a whole.”

Susan Stevens CrummelSusan Stevens Crummel, award-winning author and co-author of nearly 20 picture books. “We feel that this is what makes our collaboration successful–it’s an organic process where the story and art evolve together, meshing to create a more cohesive product.”

peter_economyPeter Economy, bestselling author and ghostwriter of more than 6o books. “It is extremely important that I capture my client’s voice and that he or she is comfortable with the style and happy with the book that results. If I haven’t accomplished that, then I have failed.”


Cynthia Leitich Smith, bestselling YA gothic novelist, picture book writer, short story writer, and popular children’s lit blogger: “Back when every novel I wrote was wholly new, I used to write a “discovery draft” wherein, after some prewriting, I plunged in and wrote a full story (with a beginning, middle, and end—say, 35,000 to 60,000 words) to get to know my protagonists, their goals and their world. When I was done, I would print it. Read it. Toss it. And delete the file.”

Kathleen Krull, award-winning uthor of more than 60 books, especially picture books and biographies for young readers: “When I get to the point of taking out commas and putting them back in again, I feel ready to send it off.”

R.L. LaFevers, award-winning uthor of the 13 novels for young people, including the popular middle grade series Theodosia Throckmorton and Nathaniel Fludd Beastologist, and now the forthcoming His Fair Assassin YA trilogy: “There is a point where you aren’t necessarily making it better—just making it different. Or so I try to tell myself.”

Henry Winkler, Lin Oliver, and Theo Baker, bestselling chapter book collaborators: “[With collaborations] you have to be very flexible in your negotiations so both parties come away feeling ownership of the final draft, and also very sensitive not to make it a critique of your partner’s talents but a decision of what works best at any given moment in the manuscript.”

Mark A. Clements, award-winning horror/suspense author, screenwriter, writing teacher, and ghostwriter: “I never share even slightly rough material and I don’t seek out advice on how to ‘fix’ something. I don’t believe in writing by committee.”

Nathan Bransford, top publishing blogger and former literary agent-turned-author of the Jacob Wonderbar middle grade books: “I was a very hands-on agent. I always thought it was important to make sure the manuscript was as good as possible before going out to editors.”

rachel caineRachel Caine, New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling author of more than 30 novels, including the YA series The Morganville Vampires, the Weather Warden series, and the Outcast Season series. “With a book due every three months, I don’t have a lot of luxury to rework things—they need to be close to the target (very close!) on the first draft.There’s never a final draft for me, only the one you have to turn in because you’re out of time.”