Posted by Angelica R. Jackson
(Graphic from the YA Highway site)
Road Trip Wednesday is a "Blog Carnival," where YA Highway's contributors and followers post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on their blogs. You can hop from destination to destination through the YA Highway site and get everybody's unique take on the topic.
This week's topic: How far would you go to get published? We writers can form quite an attachment to our characters and stories. But we also know publishing is a business, and sometimes to make it in said business--to really build a career from it--we have to bend a bit. How far would you go to break into the publishing world?
I've been a little spoiled with my freelance articles--I've never been asked to revise them or change them. Reshoot the photos, yes, and the magazines have done some light copyediting but that's it. Pretty sweet, but it kind of established unrealistic expectations about how much revising I would be expected to do because that didn't carry over into fiction.
I lost my first "sale" of a short story when my college lit mag asked me to change the ending and I refused. I did give it some thought, but decided not to do it. Unfortunately, I didn't find out that it killed the deal until they actually released the lit mag, and mine wasn't in there (after I'd told everyone it would be, of course!). So I have no idea if I'd known that, whether it would have changed my mind. And of course, years later, I did change the ending but for different reasons. Aspects of the story changed, and that meant the ending no longer fit. (And I eventually found a home for Hornworms in Hunger Mountain)
Earlier this year while querying, I got a revise and resubmit request from an agent. When she was setting up the phone call to go over her concerns, she let me know they were "not minor". So that sent me into a panic (and I do mean a panic--how a writer's imagination can run away with her!) over what sort of changes she might request and whether I would be willing to make them. Fortunately, they were suggestions that worked for the story and made it stronger, so I was glad that I gave them a chance.
But I do know that there are aspects of my book I would not be willing to change. Usually if a character or plot device isn't working, I spend a bit of time trying to discern whether it's just not working in this form and I can write it differently, or whether it truly doesn't belong in the story at all. And when my CPs give me advice that I don't agree with, I try to examine why they would have made that suggestion. So most of the time even if I feel their suggestion was way out there, I can find the flaw in the passage that made them feel it needed something else. My fix may not be what they suggested in the end, but hopefully I will have addressed the issue.
What about you--how far are you willing to go? Don't forget to go to the comments on the YA Highway RTW post to see everyone else's answers!