Celebrating the National Day on Writing: A Revision Gallery

A couple weeks ago, a school principal & teacher in California asked me where she could find pictures of real manuscripts from real authors going through the revision process to share with her students so they’d be more excited about revising. I didn’t know of such a resource, but as a teacher, I absolutely loved the idea.  As an author, I knew I probably had some writer friends who would be more than willing to help teachers by sharing a photo or two. 

The result is here… a Revision Gallery with a collection of authors’ notes and photos of their marked-up manuscripts.  I thought today, NCTE’s National Day on Writing would be the perfect day to share our stories.

The PowerPoint slides are below (as jpegs) for teachers who would like to save them & use them in the classroom, and the full presentation is also on SlideShare (though the conversion process distorted a couple of the images).


Thanks so very much to all of the authors who sent me photos of their marked up pages and words of revision wisdom for young writers. Your notes and pages were an inspiration to me, too. It really is quite a process, isn’t it?

And teachers…feel free to save, share, post, download, link to, and use these images however you can to help your kids with writing and revision.

Happy National Day on Writing!

AUTHORS: If you’d like to add to this collection, feel free to post a revision note on your own blog or website with a photo or two of your marked-up manuscript. (If you write YA, please be sure to choose a page that’s appropriate for younger readers, too!)  Then leave a comment here with a link to your revision post, and our Revision Gallery can continue to grow! 

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30 Replies on “Celebrating the National Day on Writing: A Revision Gallery

  1. Kate – I just shared this with a bunch of teacher friends…thank you so much. Since my students now know about your book, this will be even more fun for them to see.

  2. Yep – mine are all scribbled up, too. Thanks so much, Saundra, for sending along your photo so kids can see what real revision looks like (and how messy it can be!)

  3. revision notes

    As a writer with a YA book going out on submission soon I found the pages with edits and each author talking about their process very helpful in terms of getting a picture of what I might encounter.

    I used to teach writing, fifteen years at an alternative school, and these slides and notes from authors would’ve been gold to my classroom.

  4. This is very cool to see. All the comments from my editor come online now (in tracked changes), so I kinda wish I had a manuscript with all those flags on paper!

  5. Wow! This is incredible! Thank you and all the authors for sharing this experience with us ….. I can’t wait to experience this myself! 🙂

  6. Re: revision notes

    Thank you – I’m glad you found it helpful. I know as a writer it always helps me to get a glimpse of how other people work.

    Good luck with your YA submission! And hang in there – this part of the process can be a long one. I hope it goes well for you!

  7. As overwhelming as an editorial letter can feel sometimes, it’s really my favorite part of the process. Sometimes, I feel like I’ve done everything I can do to make a book stronger, but when that letter arrives, it’s a whole new collection of ideas and I always get a second wind. (and a third wind…and a fourth wind…)

  8. I’m in the middle of a new revision on a new WIP, and each time I think: is it really supposed to be this much work or is it just me? And then I look here at everyone’s marked pages, and I’m comforted, and I settle back in to work, work, work.

    Thanks for letting me be part of this!

  9. You know what? It’s reassuring for me, too. I think we all fall into that trap of thinking our first drafts have to be perfect when really, that’s what the revision process is for. Thanks, Karen!

  10. My agent tends to edit in a more holistic way – offering bigger-picture suggestions that she thinks will help us get through the acquisitions process, and that leaves the fine tuning to the editors.

  11. This is great! Thank you for sharing this! I’m still working to convince my students that a piece isn’t done the first time you write it and that when you are writing a rough draft, you shouldn’t be worrying about the final draft yet.

  12. Hi Kate,
    Thanks so much for putting this together. I’ll be sending my copyediting students to this page so they can see how what they are doing fits in with what professionals do.

  13. Thanks, Kate!

    Kate, this is a wonderful collection! I love reading thoughts on revision; it helps to see how others tackle a rewrite. Thank you!
    ~Kristin Tubb

  14. Exactly! I just taught my students how to turn OFF the “check spelling as you write” feature on Word because it makes so many of them stop writing to fret about spelling. (Spelling and writing really use such different parts of the brain!)

  15. Hi 🙂

    Thank you to all the writers for contributing to this great post and thank you to Kate for putting it together. It’s great to remember that the finished novel I read is not immediately written so perfect.
    I found this inspiring and reaffirming.
    Thanks again,

  16. Editor’s marked-up Word doc

    Kate, thank you so much for thinking of this. I read years ago of a writer who got their book back from the publisher’s editor (who happened to be Toni Morrison) and shrieked, “What have they done to my baby?” As an independent fiction editor myself, those words ring in my ears every day as I work on my clients’ manuscripts.

    I, too, write fiction. I, too, would shriek.

    I noticed a request for a marked-up Word document in your comments, so I asked my long-suffering writer husband to let me edit a few pages from a story of his. I posted an edited version of his Word document with Tracked Changes, for those interested in seeing one, at http://victoriamixon.com.

    Victoria Mixon

  17. Re: Hi 🙂

    Thanks for your comment – and no…none of them are perfect the first time. At least not mine. And not the second time either…or the third, usually… or…

    Anyway – thanks!

  18. Re: Editor’s marked-up Word doc

    Thanks for sharing this, Victoria – more and more edits are coming electronically, so it’s great to have this perspective, too!