So, I have officially finished my first round of professional edits on my novel. *cue the fanfare and confetti cannons* I sent the manuscript back to my editor a full five days early, too! Considering that a few weeks ago I was terrified I wouldn't make my deadline, I'm pretty fucking stoked about this. And, because I like this blog to be educational and shit, I thought I would describe to you what this foray into working with an actual, factual editor was like. Since I can't do interpretive dance you get gif files! (Be thankful for this.) So! If you follow me, you know that in November '12, my agent and I got an offer of publication from Entangled Publishing. The contract was finalized in January of this year and much merriment ensued.
The next couple of months were spent waiting for things to shake out. I was assigned a different editor and switched to another imprint of the publisher, so it took some time for me to hear from my editor--Editor McAwesomesauce. I was nervous because she wasn't the acquiring editor of the book. What if she hated it? Also? I've known Editor McAwesomesauce for a few years online. I respect what she has to say as a professional, but also as a friend. When I finally got my editorial letter, I was freaked out, excited as hell to get to work, and did I mention freaked out? But mostly, I was just ready to rock this bitch.
If you've never gotten an editorial letter before, here's the thing: It's long. (Mine was eight pages.) It's full of developmental ideas from your editor talking about the structure of the story and their experience as a reader. Mine began with my editor telling me she loved the book. This made me all sorts of
But then, there were more paragraphs. And seven more pages. They started off simply with ways I could improve the flow of the plot and enhance the veracity of the story. I looked at the gremlins she wanted me to excise and thought
As I kept reading the letter from Editor McAwesomesauce, I found a few points of her commentary that--while they might sting a bit--I agreed with. Strengthen this. Pull that back a bit. Okay.
But then, we got to another area. There were these sections of the story that I loved. I'd poured so much thought and research and blood and--okay, maybe not blood--but I'd sacrificed many brain cells and some measure of a chicken (the nuggets) to make these sections glorious. And she wanted me to cut them. And I was all *record scratch*...
Hell no! I thought. They are integral to the story and I cannot cut them! So I asked my beta readers, "What would you do if I got rid of this?" The responses ranged from
So, I talked with my agent and set up a conversation with Editor McAwesome. (Not only did I need to explain why this part was so important to the book--nay, to the series... to the world!--but I had some questions about her other points and wanted to run some ideas past her.) Thankfully, my editor earns her name and did not approach the conversation with an attitude of
so we were able to hammer out a few things. I explained some of where I was coming from about certain choices. We batted around some possibilities for changes. Then I said, "So this thing? It needs to stay." Then my editor did the unthinkable. She gave me a very valid, very clear, very solid answer as to WHY this thing I loved so so much had to be put down like a dog. Hearing her reasons...I sadly had to agree.
This is where you learn something important: Editors aren't there to put you down, but the exact opposite. They're there to make you better. (Just like your betas.) So, listen to them, even when you think you're right. In the end, you want your book to be the best it can possibly be. And while I love these parts that got cut, they needed to go.
So after our conversation, I opened up the manuscript and the first thing I did was cut my darlings. This left me feeling
I'd taken a huge chunk of the novel out. Almost 10k words! Holy shit! I have to replace the content and come up with that many words and fix all these holes and and and in a month???
I talked with my husband, betas, and chai about all sorts of anxieties and was lucky that no one pimp slapped me into oblivion. Then, when I'd finished freaking out (after like a day), I put my nose down and got to work. The next couple of weeks were like this (montage time!)
*redacted...this is a family show*
When I'd made all the changes and poured my brain out through my ears, I sent the revisions to my agent and my betas for a quick look. I wanted to know that I wasn't crazy about a couple of things. As their notes came in, my reactions ranged from
So, armed with some fantastic feedback, I settled in for the last push through the manuscript...sandblasting, trimming, sculpting and all that stuff. I poured a chai and I was all
Until finally...FINALLY...I reached the end and could say, "This is it. This puppy is cocked, locked and ready to rock Editor McAwesome's stripey socks right the fuck off."
I put it in the email, took a good look at my imaginary friends and said, "Go us."
So yeah. My sanity is shredded and my brain is spooled out on the floor like a cassette tape waiting for a pencil to reel it back in, but it's done. (And while I know it's not DONE done, this part is.)
Boo and verily yah.
Y'all are going to love this.