Back From The Editor … Now What?


While I was on vacation, my editor finished up with my manuscript. Being the superstar she is, she sent me two versions of the work she completed. The first version includes comments about the changes she made and grammar corrections (I have a feeling I’m going to get a major crash course in grammar rules after reading through all of them!). The second version hides all the comments and presents the manuscript as it would appear with her recommended changes.

The chaos of returning home from vacation has left me with just enough time to read the only the first page of both versions, but I’m already thrilled with the recommended changes. It’s funny how a fresh pair of eyes and a little rearranging can make such a huge difference!

Now comes the tricky decision of deciding which version to read first. On the plane ride home, I had plenty of time to think about whether I wanted to comb through the comments to get a really good understanding of her rationale before diving into the modified version or if I wanted to simply read the modified version of my novel without any explanations.

Ultimately, I decided to read the “no explanation” version first. My reasoning behind this is simple: I want to read my book as I would any other YA novel and judge it as such. Seeing as my version of the manuscript has been changed, it will be entirely new to me as a reader.

In order to further this “reader” mindset, I’m going to send the modified version to my Kindle Fire. Documents on a Kindle Fire look just like a real ebook, so that should get me in the mood to read it as if were a published novel. I used the same technique when revising the fourth draft of my novel and it worked incredibly well. In addition to creating the illusion of an ebook, the Kindle Fire also allows me to highlight and make notes within a document. That should come in handy when I read through the “comment version.”

Once I’ve read through the modified version, I’ll go back and read through all of my editor’s comments. I’ll likely have a list of notes and questions by the time I get to this version, which I can then reconcile with her rationale. From there, I can decide whether to keep the changes she made or stick with the original version.

The decision to hire an editor wasn’t an easy one and I know the next couple of weeks are going to be a huge test for me as a writer. On one side of things, I have to protect my initial vision, but on the other I need to have thick skin and open mind. My editor only wants the best for my book and it’s important that I remember this as I read through her comments and consider her alterations.

As I get ready to jump into this next phase of novel writing, I keep reminding myself that everything I do from this point on should be focused on making my novel the best it can possibly be. That might mean learning to let go of things I thought were important or considering a new way to tell a story that matters so much to me. The key element in this entire process is staying open to change.

– – –

c.b.w. 2014


19 thoughts on “Back From The Editor … Now What?

  1. So exciting! : ) I wonder if she’s an Oxford comma person or not…

    Balancing your vision with others’ input is certainly precarious. (It feels like I’m always saying that to my writing students… and often to myself when I get my writing sidekick — aka, my poor husband — involved in the process.) Can’t wait to hear what you learn as you dive into this process!


    • I am terrible with commas, so I’m happy with any method she chooses! 🙂

      The process itself is sure to be tricky, but I think an open mind and willingness to accept suggestions will make the road a little less bumpy!


  2. All sounds very promising! 🙂 It must be strange reading your book with changes made by someone else, or were they so subtle you almost didn’t notice?

    I like the idea of sending it to your Kindle, I was only reading an article the other day where someone recommended that idea. I haven’t invested in a Kindle or anything similar yet, so I used to print my stories/novel in two columns on one page, about A5 size and get it looking as close to a real book as possible. It definitely helps highlight those awkward sentences or whole chunks of writing that just don’t need to be there. But a second pair of eyes and an editor mindset is what all writers need. Good luck with getting it to where you need it to be! 🙂


    • I wouldn’t say strange, but instead enlightening. So far, the changes I’m seeing are pretty subtle, but I definitely notice them. Luckily, my gut reaction has been positive, so I’m taking them all in stride.

      I love having the draft on my Kindle. It really does help me detach from the original Word version, so I can truly read it as a book. 🙂


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