Monday, November 06, 2006

I heard an interesting bit of information at the writer’s conference I attended this year—stories of authors who received upwards of twenty pages of edits from their publisher. Single spaced edits. Sometimes with major revisions requested.

Now, mind you, these are multi-published authors, with years of writing experience behind them.

(Shudder) All of sudden, I was very grateful for my critique partners. I belong to two groups, both of them very helpful to me in picking out errors I have overlooked, but also in pinpointing areas of weakness, sections of story that require strengthening, or reworking. See, as authors, we get very close to our work.

“It’s like my baby,” I’ve heard it said, and I know exactly what the person meant.

Our characters become real people. We breathe life into them through our writing, fashioning and shaping their destinies with one stroke of the finger. While this is what we strive for, it also makes it very difficult for us to be objective judges of our own work. Crit partners are invaluable tools, cutting and strengthening without regard for the hours spent molding a scene, simply because in their objective wisdom, they see what needs to be done.

I haven’t got my first edits back from my editor yet, but I know they’re coming. I’m hoping for fewer than twenty pages—not because I’m afraid of the work, but because I hope that I’ve been diligent in presenting a clean manuscript. You see, it is NOT my editor’s responsibility to polish my manuscript for me—that’s my job, which hopefully I’ve accomplished with the help of my crit partners. Does that mean I haven’t done my part if my edits come back and there ARE twenty pages of suggested revisions? I don’t think so. But it does mean I’ve got something to shoot for, something more to learn.

I’m hoping that one day, I’ll get a manuscript back and my editor will say, “There wasn’t one thing I thought you should change. It was perfect, just the way it is.”

Hey, a girl can dream.


Ane Mulligan said...

As one of your crit partners, Lisa, your work is a dream to crit. I love your stories and how you strive for excellence!

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