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Why Melissa Payne Took a Chance on a Big Revision

Back in September, I told the story of why I took a chance on Melissa Payne even knowing that her book needed a big revision.

At the request of readers, Melissa took time out of writing her second book to write her side of the story, to let you know why she was willing to take the chance.

Melissa’s Story

Is it a mystery? Sure, it has some mystery elements. Is it magical? Yep, there’s a bit of that in there too. Is it a romance? Not in the traditional sense, but it is a story about love. So, I wrote the story I wanted to tell and after many, many rewrites of my own, I queried it. 

When Jessica called I was excited and floored but what I remember the most about our conversation wasn’t that she was asking for a rewrite. To me, that’s just part of the job and what makes storytelling a challenge I want to face for the rest of my life. What I remember is how she connected to my characters and how she immediately identified it as a story about a mother and a child. And especially how she loved the pieces of my story that have never changed, not through a single rewrite or revision. 

Because of her experience and insight, Jessica was able to read past what wasn’t working in my manuscript and see what was. And that just happened to be what I loved about the story, the bones of which I had set out to tell from the very beginning. Everything she suggested on that first phone call and in subsequent calls was aimed at bringing forth those elements. 

So while some might see that as a significant rewrite, I did not. In fact, I was excited by her suggestions and couldn’t wait to tackle the challenge. I loved jumping back in with my characters and figuring out how best to tell their tale. Rewrite? Revision? Those stages are where the magic happens. Where the plot thickens, the characters deepen and the story becomes even richer. 

Jessica’s vision for The Secrets of Lost Stones did not make me want to plug my ears or hang up the phone or find another agent who didn’t want to change a thing. From the beginning, she understood what I wanted to do with the story and she was willing to creatively challenge me to make it better. And that was exactly the kind of partnership and collaboration I was hoping for in an agent.

Category: BlogLiterary/Upmarket FictionWomen's Fiction



  1. Ah, yes. To get a phone call from Jessica Faust must be the most uplifting moment in a writer’s life. I’ve researched a ton of agents. Jessica is at the top of my list for the very reasons so eloquently written by Melissa. Jessica didn’t accept my first query but said I could resend after rewrite. I’m almost ready to send, soon. Jessica, I hope you see what you saw with Mellissa. A story worth telling and a writer who’s willing to do whatever you think will make people love my book as much as I do.

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