Revision letter template

Follow this basic template to write a revision letter that will help the author successfully revise their work:


Thank you for giving me the opportunity to work on TITLE. I enjoyed THING. [Begin with  praise about the novel. State something specific that the author does well. Don’t just say, “I really enjoyed this ms but noticed some problems.” The author needs to know what’s going right as well as what’s going wrong.]

That said, I did find a few areas that need a bit of attention. These include DEV PROBLEM 1, DEV PROBLEM 2, and DEV PROBLEM 3. . . [Name the overall developmental problems. Choose no more than three to five of the most important. Otherwise you’ll risk overwhelming the author, resulting in a poorly executed revision. Then describe in turn how each dev problem affects the ms. Remember to use the three-part query template: 1. state what the problem is; 2. explain why it’s a problem for this ms; and 3. offer a possible solution.


(details, details, details)


(details, details, details)


(details, details, details)

[For shorter letters, you don’t necessarily need headers to guide the author through the letter but if your letter is longer, these can be helpful. When possible, show how dev problems are related to each other: “Because of DEV PROBLEM 1,  there is DEV PROBLEM 2.” Inconsistent characters create implausible plots. Lack of clear motivation creates unclear conflict and characters that seem to act out of character. Etc.]

By addressing these issues, your ms will be much stronger and more emotionally engaging to readers. [Here you state the benefits of revising as this will help motivate the author to make the necessary changes.]

I did catch a few typos and have called out one or two awkwardly stated areas. SUGGESTED ACTION. [This is your summary paragraph that can be used to set expectations: “but be sure to have a copy editor look over the final ms before publication” or whatever the author’s next step should be. You should mention if there are additional developmental issues that will need to be addressed at a later time.]

As we discussed, the next step is to STATE NEXT STEP. [state what the author needs to do next and how, such as consider making the required revisions and letting you know if they have any questions; then state what the author needs to do once the revision is accomplished—send it back to you for a review, send it on to the copy editor, whatever. Include any relevant dates or instructions needed.]

I am going to miss spending time with your characters! [Say something nice about the ms to close].



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