All Authors Lie on the Floor and Cry During Edits, Don’t They?
In the mail today I received a little gift from my editor: her latest round of editorial suggestions for Learning Not to Drown. But this round is different.
For the last two drafts, my editor had sent me a big long editorial letter. It’s usually around 9 or 10 single space pages. Out of those pages one half page is dedicated to telling me how awesome my writing is. The rest tells me the areas that need major work. Attached via rubber band to that editorial letter is my manuscript with her thoughts also written in the margins. When I get a fat envelope in the mail from Atheneum, I first have a feeling of complete exhilaration and I immediately rip it open as fast as I can because there is no way I can wait a second longer. Really, I’m wanting to read that half page and just stop, because who doesn’t love to be told that something they have created is amazing? Then I read the rest of the letter. Reality sets in, but I’m still thrilled, and my outlook is very positive. So I start. Inevitably I get overwhelmed. SO much needs to be fixed. And my manuscript is so long. And it will take forever. And what makes me think that I am a good enough writer/this is a good enough story that anyone will want to read my book anyway? All of this usually ends with me crying on the floor and questioning why I write in the first place. Which is very dramatic and a pretty immature thing to do, but I’d like to think that every author lies on the floor and weeps at least once during edits. After I get that out of my system, I get myself up off the floor and work. Despite all the doubt I had in myself and in my ability to improve my writing, somehow it all gets done. The book has improved. It’s much better than the last draft.
Today, when the stuffed envelope came in the mail, there was no editorial letter.
No major issues with the plot. Or character development, or timelines or settings. Or character philosophy. Or metaphors. The major issues have, apparently, all been handled.
Just line edits. Details. Changing words and sentences. Cutting out the stuff the story really doesn’t need. I kind of can’t believe that I’ve finally made it to this point.
Oh, and this time I have an actual deadline. So I’d better start working. Now.