Two days ago I got my manuscript back from my editor in Washington, DC. She’s fantastic, by the way, and I will give her a plug later. My response was similar to what I felt with the first book, The House on 4th Street. At first I quickly glanced through her nine pages of notes without looking at the manuscript itself with line edits, etc. I felt the panic grab my gut and turned off the computer.
The following afternoon, I opened the attachment again, printed it off and sat down at my desk to read through her notes and suggestions. Less panic. Thoughts like “this is doable”, “I can do this.” But again I put them aside.
Today, I took her notes and my large art pad and began writing on my giant sheet of art paper — Page 1. Consider starting the story in Mexico. You can weave the information from the first 20 pages into the story by use of memory, exposition or in scene.
Okay! I’m sure she’s right. Every piece I’ve ever written has been axed by professors, my advisor and my editor. “The story actually begins on page 10 or page 20 or even page 50.”
All of her suggested changes took up only 2 full pages of art paper (18″x 24″). I taped them to the walls of my “craft room” instead of my office. I think best in there, and write at my computer in the office.
Just as I did the first time, I questioned her remarks. Just as I did the first time, I had grown attached to my words. Just as I did the first time, I let it go.
Editors always parse their remarks by saying “suggestions only; you’re the writer.” But I also know that when I made Evelyn’s changes to the first novel, it improved tremendously. And I know her observations and suggestions are going to do the same this time around.
Now I’m ready. Three pens on the craft table, my art pad, two notebooks, my iPod shuffle, a coaster for my coffee. I’m ready to begin. To shred, to move, to revamp. Final revisions to We’ll Find a Way are beginning. I wish I didn’t have two birthdays, Thanksgiving, out of town company and Christmas to contend with this month. All I want to do is chain myself to the desk and sweat and groan through the process!
I’d like to say – publishing date end of December. I suppose realistically I need to say January, 2017. So.. my thanks to a great editor, Evelyn Duffy … the best eye in the business. (p.s. she researches for Bob Woodward – can’t get much better than that.)
Did I actually sit down and begin? Of course not. I have two birthdays, Thanksgiving, out of town company and Christmas coming up. I went shopping …