Last night I was catching up on Project Runway, and Tim Gunn said (and I’m pretty sure he was looking at me), “You have to step back objectively and ask yourself the tough questions.” How he knew that I’d just gotten my editor’s notes back and needed to hear this particular bit of advice, I don’t know. But need it I did, and there it was. Tim Gunn telling me to “make it work.”
So… the notes. This whole hiring-an-editor thing has been an unexpected journey. I didn’t know quite what to expect to begin with, so I can’t really judge its merit that way. But I can say it was so worth it. Truly, every penny and every second. I have learned (and AM learning) so much; things I didn’t even realize I needed to learn. It’s a humbling process for sure, but when I set my ego and my pre-existing ideas of what my story is aside … it’s actually quite liberating.
The thing I learned most is that I’ve been holding back. Holding back with my story, with my plot stakes, with my characters, with everything. I’ve been “dipping my toes in” as my editor says. And he’s absolutely right. I bring my characters to the edge of danger, to the edge of discovery, to the edge of conflict … and they narrowly escape. Every time. Not only is it too coincidental that information just pops up when my MC needs it, but it’s not interesting to read. I knew all of these things before; I can recognize these problems in other people’s writing, but I had these ideas of what was going to happen in my story (and what wasn’t going to happen) and that was it. So weird. Weird and not interesting.
So today starts the re-writes. And let me tell you – my characters better be on the lookout. ‘Cause my toe-dipping days are over. I am ready to dive.