I know I’m supposed to be in seclusion right now–I’m finishing up edits for my Victorian historical As Long As You’re Mine for submission to an agent. Yes, I broke bad and hired an editor (a damn good one too) to make sure this manuscript was the best it could be.
And it will be, but man, the edits are kicking my butt!
Edits have never been easy; almost all of my manuscripts have come back from the editors looking like a Christmas tree with multi-colored balls on it. So with a deep breath I roll up my sleeves and wade in. I’ve never minded changing things when I feel the suggestion will make the work better. It’s the making it better part that’s the real challenge.
Of course, I wrote the original word/phrase/sentence/paragraph thinking this is exactly what I mean. Then it comes back with phrases like “word choice?” or “Not sure about this” or “Telling.” Ugh! Now I have to make it better. And to do that I’m going to have to…gulp…think! I’m actually going to have to be a writer. My first drafts are usually gut and emotion. The edits demand more. They insist that I use craft to make this work better.
Edit is a four letter word.
But it’s a good word because edits/editors force us to re-invent that word/phrase/ sentence/ paragraph/character/plot point that is not up to its full potential. It’s a bear because if you didn’t see anything wrong with what you had, how can you re-write it to make it better? A good editor will tell you the whys, which will give you the tools you need to improve your work.
Bottom line–Trust your editor. Ask questions if you don’t understand a comment. Editing should be a collaborative effort that works to make your manuscript the best that it can be. And I’ve been fortunate to have worked with several editors with whom the collaboration process was absolutely wonderful, including my current editor.
Just don’t tell her I wrote this. I’m supposed to be editing!