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Help on Revision Request

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#1 mhartman83


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Posted 24 February 2018 - 02:10 PM

Hi everyone,


I recently received an e-mail back from my lone "Full" request, and I need some advice. Here is the response:


I recently finished reading Morrigan.  As you can imagine we receive a lot of material to read and I normally only read enough of  a manuscript to decide if I think it would be of interest to us.  I read all of Morrigan because I found it to be very interesting.  Your dialogue was well written and very believable, however, I found the ending disappointing and was waiting for something more to happen.  If you would be willing to rework the end of the story, I would be happy to take another look in the future.
I think you are a talented writer and I hope you continue to write.  I wish you all the best.




I'm interpreting this as giving me the opportunity to rework the ending and resubmit within a few weeks or months with a revision, which obviously I plan on doing. However, I want to solicit some more feedback from him regarding HOW he'd like to see the ending changed. Does that seem amateurish? I don't want to come across as asking him to tell me what to write, but it would be enormously helpful to have more insights than this. For example, what does he consider the ending? The last page? The last thirty pages? Without coming off as annoying, how should I respond to this???

#2 Nessa


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Posted 24 February 2018 - 04:24 PM

I recommend grabbing 1 or 2 CPs to read the manuscript with a focus on the ending and how it ties into the rest of the manuscript. R&Rs are often given when the revisions are expected to be too substantial for a non-client. I.e., the agent doesn't know if you can deliver on major revisions. This isn't a one page thing.
Some agents give more in-depth R&R notes, but I advise you not to email him. A couple days ago, I saw a Twitter thread in which a few agents said extensive R&R notes are risky because an author might use them to pretty up the work, submit to another agent, and land representation. The agent who gave an R&R wasted their effort for the "competition." You might get more details, but you might also come off as pushy. It's not worth the risk in my opinion.
The ending might specifically refer to your last 30 pages, last 50--you'll have to ask your CPs for advice. A warning: your R&R doesn't only mean fixing the ending. It means fixing everything in the manuscript that affects the ending. If the agent was expecting something more interesting, you'll want the whole manuscript to build up to that.
An agent told me my ending was disappointing, and could be fixed with a tweaking of relationships. That didn't mean only fixing the relationships. That also meant rewriting the last 20% of my manuscript, adding scenes, and tweaking subplots.
R&Rs are rare. You want to spend at least several months working on it.
Good luck!

#3 lnloft



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Posted 24 February 2018 - 04:28 PM

I would hazard that "the ending" is at least from the climax on. It's definitely not only the last page, because if it were an issue of only a single page, I figure he would have been willing to take you up. So to me this suggests more of a big picture, something where he wanted more excitement, bigger stakes, a reveal he was waiting on, something of that sort.


My thought is it is fine to send him a follow up email. Thank him for taking the time to read your manuscript and his response, and then ask if he would be willing to elaborate a bit more on what he meant. As long as you keep your tone polite and professional, I don't see it coming as amateurish. Worst case scenario is that he doesn't respond, but if you make some revisions, I don't think you emailing now will stop him from looking at it again, since he otherwise seemed to very much enjoy it.

Please note I'm also posting on behalf of people who can't sign up, so if I provide a link in the main body of the post, make sure to reciprocate on that thread.

#4 Faltho



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Posted 25 February 2018 - 09:05 AM

I would suggest doing a combination of both the above advice.


1. Email the agent back in a polite and professional way, saying something along the lines of you take their feedback very seriously and were curious if they could perhaps elaborate further if the time in their understandably busy schedule permits.


I say this one from personal experience. One of my manuscripts recent got a very similar R&R sort of rejection (though not on the ending). It was a little vague, and since I was genuinely interested in their feedback and representation with them, I asked them if they'd be willing to elaborate further. Luckily, they did respond with a short list of issues. However, many agents don't have the time to do this so don't let that sour you towards the agency if they don't say anything back.


2. You should also always have a backup plan. I say find 3-4 people to read your work and have experience reading and/or writing in your genre and age range. Then, listen to the general consensus of what they believe may be the problem with your ending based on their experience. Look for patterns in the critiques as everyone has a slightly different taste in books, so look for the issues which are brought up by multiple parties. These will likely be the issues the agent is looking at.


Hope this helps! 

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