Revisions are a Weekend at Bernie’s

I’ve been working through revisions on my next book for the past few months, and it’s been a challenge for me.  Revisions to The Clockwork Three were relatively painless.  Not so with my next book.  Not at all.

I’ve made it no secret that I hate revisions.  Some writers talk about how much they love revisions.  That’s when the story really takes shape for them, and they actually have to force themselves to stop fiddling with the words.  Well, it seems that’s not how I’m wired.  For me, the real excitement is in the first draft, where all the discovery takes place.  That’s when the story really lives and breathes for me as something vibrant and exciting.  Going back to it after the words have cooled off feels a bit like posing a corpse.

But over the past few months, I’ve also learned that I can do it.  Which is a good thing, since all signs point to revisions having a constant presence in my career going forward from here.  I’m not out of the woods with my current book yet, but I’m getting there.


I’ll be presenting at the upcoming regional conference for the Utah/Southern Idaho branch of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.  The date is November 13th, and the event will be held at the Salt Lake City main library (210 East, 400 South).  The title of my presentation is, “Voice: Where do I get one of those?”  I suggested the title somewhat humorously, but now that I look at it, I realize that I should probably have an answer.  Feel free to come and find out if I do!

Details and how to register for the event here.  But I think you can also come and register the day of the conference.


The Association of Booksellers for Children have just announced their “2010 New Voices” picks, and The Clockwork Three is on the list!  So are several fellow 10ers, including Jennifer Cervantes, Christina Diaz Gonzales, and Blythe Woolston.  Also on the list is fellow Utah writer Kristen Chandler!  I’m honored and thrilled to be in such great company.  You can see the full list and read more about it here.


I also realized I haven’t yet posted the UK cover of The Clockwork Three.

Pretty cool, huh?  The Clockwork Three has sold in several countries, and I think it will be fun to see the different covers.

That’s the news for now!

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25 responses to “Revisions are a Weekend at Bernie’s”

  1. What a great cover! Can’t wait to see the ones from other countries. And congratulations on being an ABC New Voice–a well-deserved honor.


  2. Hello Mr. Kirby,
    I am currently writing a book in my English Class. It is about 16 year old Jesuit Missionary that goes with Francisco Coronado in search of the Seven Cities of Gold. I have not come up with a name for the boy and was wondering if you could give me some ideas. And like you said in your interview above, you had three stories you wanted to write but was able to put them all together. I also have two other stories that I want to write about. One is about an early Mayan city that was magnificent but later that Aztecs declare war and destroy the city. The story is about a young Mayan boy who used to live in that city and is now enslaved for the Aztecs caring the gold up to a mine. Then the final book is about a young Viking boy who is marooned with his father in present day Minnesota and journey down south in search of these mines in hope of someday returning to Scandinavia to report their findings. After months of travelling they find a long train of the Mayans caring gold and decide to follow. They find the mines and secretly help the Mayans form a city in the mines. (Inside the Grand Canyon) Later there are 6 other cities added but the only way you could enter was if you were able to find a carved arch in Canyon and figure out the riddle inscribed in Anglo Saxon Runes. Then after traveling through the cave you would come upon a cross. Once you came upon the cross you would have to kneel down and make the sign of the cross. And once you did that the wall behind the door would move. I was just wondering if you could give me a few tips on writing a book, a list of your favorite descriptive words you would use in your writing, and some names I could use for my Characters. Thank You so much. I hope you continue to write more stories I enjoyed the Clockwork Three. It was if I could not set the book down.

    From Your Reader,

    PS. If I was to give a name to the title of the book If I combined them all it would be “The Journals of Cibola”. Thank You, and I hope you have a wonderful day!

    PSS. Two more things and I am terribly sorry if I am bothering you but I was also wondering if you could give me ideas on what I should do in the situation that I am in. (Some examples of what I should write about.) And the second thing is do you have any ideas for a good pen name. Thank You so much and I am sorry if I bothered you. Oh and I love the new cover for the book!! I can’t wait to see it in the stores!

    • Hi! It sounds like you’ve got some great ideas, and I hope you continue pursuing them. As far as names, that’s a very personal thing for a writer. When I’m trying to decide on names, I usually consider how the name sounds (Does it sound hard? soft? musical? grating?) and also what it means. Pick the name that has the right feeling to it.

      My biggest tip on writing a book is to make sure you work on it a little bit every day. A lot of writers set goals for themselves, like 2 pages a day. If you do that and stick to it, pretty soon you’ll have a whole book.

      As for ideas of what you should write, I always tell writers to pick the story they’re most excited by, interested in, and passionate about. It sounds like you’ve got a few to choose from!

      Good luck!

    • The dead corpse analogy is feeling particularly apt for me right now!

      Yes, I’ll see you on Saturday, and Friday, too!

  3. I just read the Clockwork Three. I was drawn in by the beautiful cover and the lovely title page. I must admit to being disappointed that there were no illustrations for the actual story. I enjoyed the story- read it in a day. Very sweet and somewhat enigmatic. Will your next book be about the the same characters? So many questions about Madame and Yakov that are left unanswered.

    • Hi, Wendy. Illustrations are always a nice touch, aren’t they?

      My next book will not follow the same characters. I’m working on something completely different. But I do hope to one day return to the world of THE CLOCKWORK THREE, and I can assure you that Madame Pomeroy and Yakov will both make reappearances!

  4. I know this comment isn’t relevant to the post but I just wanted you personally to know that The Clockwork Three is the single best book I have ever read. When I saw the book at our book fair I asked our librarian if we were going to get it and I asked over and over if it was in yet. When I got it I started reading it I was hooked! The plot is amazingly woven, which I don’t see in any books nowadays and the characters are just so real. Thank you very much for bringing this book to life.

    -Sean Fisher

    • Thanks for your comment, Sean. I’m really happy that you enjoyed reading the book, and that it lived up to your expectations!

  5. Hey Mr. Kirby,

    When is your next book going to be coming out into public or able to be bought?

    😛 cant wait to for it to come out.

    • Hi AJ! My next book will be out next year in the fall, so about a year from now. It seems like a long time, doesn’t it?

  6. Hello,
    I am doing a web page on your book and I don’t know how to explain rverend Grey very well. If you could, please explain him a little more to me.

    • Hmm. I’m not sure what kind of information you’d like to know. Can you be more specific? Also, can you tell me more about the web-page? That sounds cool.

  7. Congratulations on your new book! I saw it on the shelf in the bookstore the other day and was so excited for you. I can’t wait to read it! I agree with you about revisions–and I’m not even doing them for anyone but me right now. Good luck with that 🙂

    • Well, I don’t have too many past works that have been published. Perhaps I’ll see if I can get permission to post something.

  8. Hi Mr. Kirby. Love clockwork three, besst book ever. I cried each time the parts in the book were sad. Have you ever thought of this book coming out in theaters, because you should have it out in theaters. it would be a good movie.

    • Hi Genie,

      Thanks, I’m really happy the book touched you on an emotional level. As for a movie, I hope it happens. It’s out of my hands, but it has been optioned, so that’s a step in the right direction.

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