Quick Links: How to Survive the Edit Letter

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Writing is a very personal thing. So it is easy to see why people have difficulty with feedback. It’s like getting immunization shots, you know you need them but it’s going to hurt.  One way to get good feedback is working with critique partners. {Writability}’s Ava Jae has the lollypop and band-aids ready as she gives us tips on how to survive the critiquing process.

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How to Survive the Edit Letter

by Ava Jae

I'm sorry... You have run on sentences. Have a tissue.
I’m sorry… You have run on sentences. Have a tissue.

So we all know working with critique partners is a very good thing you should be doing if you’re a writer, and we know that even after you get an agent, the revisions don’t stop until the book is on the shelf. Which means between the first draft and the final printed copy, writers have to do a lot of revisions. And generally, when those revisions are based off someone else’s notes…there comes the edit letter.

A lot of edit letters.

I recently got a question on tumblr about handling edit letters, and it occurred to me that while I’ve mentioned tips here and there for handling critiques, it doesn’t look like I’d really dedicated a post to it. So now I am.

The long and short of this is even when you like revising (like me)—even when revising is your favorite part (like me)—edit letters can be pretty hard to swallow. Whether it’s a bulleted e-mail or a fifteen-page Word document (both of which I’ve received), reading an edit letter can feel a bit like getting punched in the stomach repeatedly. And at the end you’re supposed to smile and say, “thank you.”

So how do you handle an edit letter? These are the steps I take:

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