Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Revision Begins

"Editing is housekeeping.  Revision is where the writer's journey truly takes place."  These words were spoken by Rafe Martin, beloved children's author and speaker, at an institute I attended for student writers in the North Penn School District (Lansdale, Pennsylvania).  His point is, the capitalization, punctuation, and grammatical corrections are the dusting and vacuuming of a house. Revision is when you take the two bedroom, 1 bathroom house and turn it into a mansion.  It's why writers put words to page.

With the first draft of CROSS complete in September '08, I submitted it to a respected colleague and experienced writer, Kathryn Craft.  Kathryn conducts her own business, Writing-Partner (, providing manuscript evaluation services.  Not only did she provide me with line-by-line commentary, but she also included a detailed, 8-page overview of potential alterations to the manuscript.  The journey of revising had begun.

Included with Kathryn's evaluation was this review, something she told me she rarely provides with any of her evaluations.

“This project is a gift to all of those who will read it.  Scott Heydt writes with a command born of unobstructed vision and crystalline voice.  Cross radiates with clarity.  It is my kind of book:  many laugh-out-louds, a few tears, and story arcs that ease the young reader beyond the threshold of the concrete into the realm of metaphoric thinking.  Drew is an instantly lovable protagonist who learns how to keep his anger from turning in on himself out of a burgeoning, multi-faceted respect: for a beloved teacher, for nature as represented by the classroom’s reptiles, for a sweet first romance, and for the type of buddy bonding we all yearn for.  People will remember reading it for years.”                 

~Mrs. Kathryn Craft, 

Humbling review, huh?  Here's the important message.  Every piece of writing needs revision.  Mine was certainly no different.  But Kathryn saw something special in CROSS.  Something resonating beyond the page.  This is the fuel I use each day to make the appropriate revisions so that readers can share in Drew's journey.


"Live, Learn, Teach"


  1. Hey Mr. Heydt,
    Its Darby, you taught me social studies in 5th grade I havent read your books yet, but i plan to soon. I am Caroline's friend, u teach her this year. Hope to visit Groveland soon, actually i danced there the day of the assembly. I hope to cokme back and say hi to everyone soon.


  2. Darby,

    So great to hear from you! Of course I remember you :)

    Your performance at Groveland the other week was phenomenal! I recognized you right away. If you have the chance, come on out to the Groveland Book Fair from 5-8 on April 28, 29, and 31. I'll be there signing books.

    Glad to hear you're doing well!

    ~Mr. Heydt

  3. Little did I know, when I followed the link to your blog on Facebook today, that I would read back a couple of entries and find myself featured! It's quite an honor to be counted among those who have inspired your writing to new heights. I love literary, first-person kinds of tales so CROSS's first version was instantly likable to me. But I'm not your target audience. I can see how switching to the third-person, with its increased need for dialogue, might be a better sell to the younger crowd. So I am learning, too, through you. Thanks for sharing. And it's clear you're a teacher: I've never been quoted as "Mrs. Kathryn Craft" before!


For the safety of any middle grade or YA readers to this site, all comments will be reviewed before posting. In the interest of freedom of expression, though, all comments will be approved and posted as long as they do not include vulgarity, racially insensitive material, or anything else found not suitable for younger readers.

Site Meter