From Imagination To Publication

Monday, June 13, 2011

Done and Done.

Well, I did it. I submitted my manuscript last night!
I wasn't quite sure what to do with myself today, but then I realized...oh yeah, I have a wedding to plan. Now it's back to wedding mode. In less than three weeks I'll be married. Holy smokes, people!

Anyway, I know I've sidetracked a little with the wedding, but the theme of this blog is Imagination to Publication, so I feel the need to breakdown my editing process a bit after all that work.

For those of you who haven't been following long, I've just completed the very first step in the publication process (aside from actually finding a publisher - thank you ZOVA!). After reading through my manuscript, my publisher came back with what they call content edits. They had a list of suggestions that ultimately led to some rewrites.

My piles of manuscript pages...wowzers. Finally done.

The Rewrites
1. I'll be honest. At first, I freaked out. This is my debut novel okay. I was a little attached. I didn't like the idea of changing something that was already done in my mind.
2. I bit the bullet and started CUTTING. If you've ever written anything over 300 pages in Microsoft Word, you can imagine how hard that is.
3. With gaping holes in my story, I began to ask myself, "what happens here?" I remember reading somewhere about the importance of being honest in your writing. Imagine your characters as real people, and let them make the decisions they would make, not the decisions you as the author would prefer they make. When I began to think of my characters that way (and after 300 pages of writing about them, you do get to know them) I began to ask myself, why do they would make those decisions? What happened, to cause them to do what they do or feel what they feel? Those questions got me my answers, and that's how I filled the holes.
4. After patching up my manuscript and sewing the chapters together, I had to read it. Let me tell you, I must have drained about five red ink pens. I carried pages around everywhere, work, restaurants, a wedding, birthday parties, you name it. While everyone else was eating, I was editing.
5. THEN, I had to enter all of my corrections into the computer. (It's easier to edit on paper)
6. I couldn't call it done until I read through all the corrections and changes one last time, and even then I found mistakes. I don't know if it is possible to make a manuscript PERFECT. There will always be something.

Before this process, I never thought of writing as work. When I read Bird by Bird (yeah, yeah, I know I talk about it too much) I remember Anne Lamott going on about how writing is work. She said most writers dream of a life of leisure with lots of time off. They think that writing is easy and fun, and yes, it is fun, but it is also work. I don't think I've ever worked so hard on anything in my life. Thankfully, there is a sense of accomplishment when that work pays off, and in my mind, it has.

What's Next
1. Waiting
2. More waiting...

Once ZOVA reads through the new version of THE DESCENDANTS, assuming they are happy with it and ready to move forward, I believe the next step is line editing. We'll see...


Post a Comment