A couple weeks ago, I got my first revision letter from Agent Ted.
Some background on me--I am not afraid of revision. As a fast writer, I revise all the damn time. Plus, I've been writing long enough as a serious hobby, and as an English major, and as a lawyer, that hearing comments and suggestions from other people about my writing rarely bothers me.
Sometimes, I even enjoy it. I'm sick that way.
And before I signed with Agent Ted, he made it clear to me that he would be asking for some changes, and talked a little bit about what those were, because he didn't want me to be surprised. I appreciated his honesty, and, frankly, his suggestions were pretty good, even in the abridged pre-client version, so I wasn't too scared of getting the revision letter.
But you never know, right? After all, Agent Ted is a Real Agent. He's sold Real Books. To Real Publishers.
But when I actually got the revision letter, I was downright happy. Agent Ted didn't want to make my protagonist into a boy. Or cut half the word count and change the ending. Or make my characters vampires.* No, Agent Ted gets The Book. Really gets it. Sure, there are a lot of suggestions, and I've just spent four hours working on them, and there's a lot more work to come, let me tell you, but...he's basically right. He's saying the things that I would say if The Book weren't my book, but your book, and you asked my opinion on it, and you weren't related to me.
Don't get me wrong--I'm not one of those people who bows down to someone's opinion all "oh, whatever you say, sir!" (My critique group can attest to that.) And Agent Ted and I will have to talk about a couple of things that I'm not sure about. And I'm sure that some where down the line Agent Ted and I are going to have words about some change that he wants, if not on this book then the next one or the next or the next. (Today, a writer without a first sale; tomorrow, RULER OF THE WORLD.)
But for right now, I have a revision letter that I am convinced will make The Book funnier, sexier, tighter...all around better.
Now all I have to do is the work.
*I'm kidding. No agent wants to make anyone's characters vampires these days. With the vampire glut in the market, some agents may be trying to make vampires into something else. "Maybe," they're saying to vampire-writing clients, "maybe your characters could be, I don't know...vampire bunnies or something?** For a change?"
**This book actually exists. No kidding. It's awesome.