Ready for this? In just two short days, I will receive the notes from my editor. TWO DAYS. I got an email yesterday with a little sneak peek of what is coming, and I have to say … I’m SO EXCITED!!! No, the forecast is not all sunny. The words “months of hard work ahead” were bandied about. But here’s the thing … I’ve known for a long time that there were some plotting and pacing issues that needed help, but I’m too close to it to see how to get there. And this right here – this is my chance. The notes I’ve gotten so far have been vague-ish (because the Big Notes are coming in TWO DAYS – did I mention that??), but I’m so encouraged by them. Someone out there gets it. And now I can make it what I’ve known all along it had the potential to be.
As you may have guessed, this is my first time working with an editor. I still get a huge thrill out of saying things like, “Why yes, I heard from my editor today.” And I’m not exactly sure what to expect. I do know that I’m not obligated to follow the advice/notes/critique/plan he lays out for me – that ultimately, he works for me and I can do what I want with my own words. BUT – I didn’t pay him so that I could listen to my own advice. If I may quote Alice for a moment…
So what I really need then, is to sort through what is fitting with my vision, and what is not. I’m preparing myself for the notes, for the doubts, for the inner-critic that pops up and says “See?? Why did you ever think you could be a writer??” Because that’s coming; it’s human nature.
Example: Yesterday, when I got the email addressing in vague terms some of the notes that are headed my way, one of the notes said that we live too much in my MC’s head. I glossed over that at first because there was so much else going on in the email that I was a little giddy and overwhelmed for a bit and it took a little while to settle into what I was reading. But that came back to me in a big way. And my reaction was “But it’s first person narrative; of COURSE I’m going to live in her head. I like it there! I know this character inside and out and I’m comfortable with living in her thoughts. Am I supposed to change the whole perspective of the book?” And then, somewhere around 5:00 this morning, I woke up (not on purpose – it’s my day off) thinking, “Oh wait a minute. That doesn’t mean that he doesn’t think we should live in her head. It means that there’s not enough action to balance the thought-life. We should be seeing more of what’s actually happening rather than hearing her thoughts on what’s happening.” And I can DO THAT! Not only can I do that, but it makes me really excited for the potential of where she’s headed and where she’s going to take me.
So. Lesson learned. In two days (TWO DAYS!!) I shall attempt to make this happen:
- Read through the notes as a whole
- Don’t panic
- Don’t touch a single word of the manuscript for at least 24 hours
- Read through the notes again
- Make a plan (still not touching the ms!)
- THEN… get out the post-its and the highlighters and the purple Sharpie and DIVE IN!!!!
And that, my friends, is the plan. How well it will be executed remains to be seen. But I am so freaking stoked for this part of the journey. I feel ready. Notes? Critique? Months of hard work and late nights?
Yeah. Bring it.