The very first YA I wrote was a real labor of love. When I finished it, I couldn’t imagine how to revise it. I felt every word was perfect. Sure I would revise it a little with every rejection…with a scalpel. I would shape a sentence here and there, teasing an adjective out from the bone and carefully dissecting it before dropping it back into the whole. Then after a couple particularly hard-hitting rejections (the rejections weren’t so bad–my skin was particularly thin that week!), I tossed that YA under the bed and wrote something new. A mystery for an older audience.
There was just one problem. It sucked.
Some of it was decent enough, but the majority of it was a mishmash. I strapped on the surgical gown to start revisions. Only this time instead of a scalpel, I brought a cleaver. I hacked, rewrote, hacked some more. I cut so much my file of deletions was two-thirds the size of the actual manuscript. I thought I was leaving a trail of carnage behind but what emerged was a real story. It had a certain sharp-edged beauty to it (what wouldn’t when shaped with a cleaver?) and a symmetry all its own.
I learned a lot about revisions that time around. Let go of the scalpel, wade in, and wield that cleaver. You may be pleasantly surprised by the results.