Congratulations! You’ve sold your first short story or novel. The contracts are signed and you’re walking on air.
And then, the unimaginable happens…your editor emails you a redlined copy of your cherished manuscript. Your precious story lies before you, bleeding and broken, and you’re expected to fix it! To patch all the wounds the editor’s ‘track changes’ has inflicted, to plug all the plot holes she’s identified, to create the additional scenes she vows will make the premise more believable.
You slam your laptop closed and run screaming from the room.
“I can’t do it!” you wail. “What’s wrong with the woman? They bought my story, didn’t they? Why are they now asking me to change it?”
If you’re published, you probably recognize this scene. If you’re striving for publication, be forewarned…it’s lurking in your future…
However, I’m here to announce that this dreaded scenario can actually be the answer to your prayers. A good editor, one who forces you to dig deep and create the story your current manuscript only approximates, is worth her weight in gold.
Wait a day or two (or an hour if time is short) and then take a deep breath, fortify yourself with coffee or Diet Coke or that time-honored panacea, chocolate, and approach the dread document with courage. You can do this. Your story is worth the battle. So gird your loins and face the dragon!
The editor who has worked with me on all my Freya’s Bower novels, K.M. Frontain, deserves a medal of honor. Her patient coaxing and outright bullying have challenged me to make those novels the best I was capable of at the time. If I’m more capable now, credit goes to the lessons she’s taught me. Thanks, Karen. You ROCK!
This last weekend, another excellent editor (this one with Wild Child Publishing) sent me a suggestion for the short paranormal story she’s editing for an upcoming anthology. Her suggestion tweaked the focus of the story and sent my muse into paroxysms of delight. She suggested that I change one scene and delete references through the rest of the story, but only after assuring me that the current version was publishable if I didn’t agree with her vision.
My muse took the bit in her teeth and ran! I spent the rest of the weekend, not editing the current version, but creating a completely new tale. One that is focused and tight and, hopefully, will delight my editor.
Now, I’ve had my share of editors who were less than inspired, but when you come across a jewel, treasure her…and bow before her wisdom and perception!