Clearing The First Hurdle

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When I sent my manuscript to my editor, I made a mental list of things I’d be willing to fight for if they disappeared or were changed beyond recognition. The list is actually very short, seeing as I walked into the process determined to stay open-minded to change.

In reading chapters five through ten, I knew one of my list items was on the horizon. And it wasn’t just any list item, it was one of my favorite parts of the entire story. As soon as I saw the heading for Chapter 10, I took a deep breath and hoped my original vision was largely intact.

Chapter 10 is a turning point in the story as this is where Ian’s secret is forced out of him. He can’t hide anymore and Amanda learns the truth behind his presence in her life. This moment between them is both emotional and magical.

What makes this particular part of the story so important to me is somewhat sentimental. It’s the first conversation I ever “heard” between my main characters, Amanda and Ian. There voices chimed into my imagination with such shocking clarity, I felt more like a transcriptionist than a writer.

The question, however, was whether my editor would see it the way I do. Her changes through chapters five through nine were relatively subtle (and extremely well done) and that gave me a little boost of confidence as I jumped into Chapter 10. That being said, I still made sure I wore my thick skin before reading even a single line. Thick skin is an important wardrobe accessory for any writer reading through edits!

After the first big breath at the start of the chapter, I don’t think I exhaled until the page before Chapter 11. Then, it took every bit of control I had not to jump up out of my chair and do a happy dance. The dialogue was relatively untouched and my original vision remained totally intact. The changes she made were quiet, yet powerful in that she made what I wrote flow with a little more elegance.

Now, I can relax a bit as one huge item on my list made it through my editor’s radar. Another big list item is coming in Chapter 12 and I’m still wondering what happened to my missing 23 pages and 7,000 words! But, for now, I’ll just bask in the fact that one hurdle has been cleared.

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c.b.w. 2014

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19 thoughts on “Clearing The First Hurdle

  1. It’s always fantastic when another set of eyes comes to the same conclusion about a pivotal scene, and the way you wrote it. Happy for you that it was only made better, and not completely changed! 🙂

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  2. I’m still alternating between shaking and scratching my head at this method of editing. I don’t honestly think I could live with it. Maybe I am now too used to having the ball (a questionable passage or usage) returned to my court by my editor, so that the creative responsibility for finding an agreeable ‘fix’ is mine.

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    • I always thought I’d want that kind of control, but I’m finding the complete opposite is best for me. If I let the work go, I’m more open to possibilities I didn’t consider before. To my great surprise, I really like reading my novel with so many unknowns in place. It’s all new to me and it gives me a fresh perspective.

      Like anything else, we all do things in a different way. 🙂

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      • True, but for me I feel like I do have ownership over the problem and solution because I can always go in fix a change I don’t like. So far that hasn’t happened, but the ability to accept or reject changes is firmly in my hands.

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  3. I’ve skimmed enough posts to know that you sent the novel to an editor. I am glad t hear that the process is working well for you. It seems similar to polishing a gem, helping the beauty shine through by taking away the parts that dull the beauty. I continue to appreciate your commitment to your characters and to this story!

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    • My editor is doing an amazing job. I’m so happy with how she’s cleaned up and pruned the text. Even though it was pretty clean to start with, she’s doing a great job pulling the things that don’t really need to be there.

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