Wednesday, September 07, 2011

My Fiction Day - The Second Book

Today my publisher's editor emailed me. She's studying my return line-edits and will be in touch by the end of the week. Okay, a second of fear jolted through me there. I poured blood into that manuscript, people. Buckets and buckets of it, but I did my best.

Now, however, I'm wondering about the status of book two, also in the publisher's hands. No contract on it yet, but the company is noted for taking on writers and expecting a series. Book two is my favorite thus far.

Problem...there's been so much changed in book one, that it impacts book two. The thought of all THOSE edits is worth sighing over way more than the alterations in the first. But that's the chance you take when pitching a series.

Many people have written me, asking if they should file a copyright on their manuscript before submitting it to publishers. I tell them no. That book won't come out of the publisher's chute in the same shape as it went in. Trust me. Just because a publisher accepts your story doesn't mean it doesn't continue morph. Frankly, until the book is in your hands, it's subject to change.

That's why you have to be fluid. Characters you love can disappear. Characters who do little may take on new responsibilities. Entire settings can move from one place to another. Your protagonist can go from a goodie-goodie to someone who strays across the line. And you know what? Don't fight it. Listen to those suggestions. It's amazing at how many of them really make sense once they sink into your rebellious mind.

But what's key is to keep writing. To keep myself focused and busy, to avoid watching the email for agent responses to my book one queries, I continued to write book two. Before I knew it, a year later, book two was done. So I started book three. It's what you do. Head down, moving forward, you keep on keeping on.

The other day I mentioned to my critique group that I was swamped with several deadlines in addition to the line edits, and I was keeping long hours. A good friend laughed at me. "Chin up, Hope. You know you love it. All this activity and responsibility is what you've fought for all these years. It's here. Lap it up."

I thanked her for setting me straight, smiled, and went back to my writing.


Kathleen Basi said...

I'm nowhere near publishing, unfortunately, but I still have to second you about fluidity. It's painful to let go of things you love, but we're so close to our books, we often can't see what they really need. Unbiased eyes are so good for our work.

Hope Clark said...

That's write, Kathleen. And sometimes the changes are about things you want so badly to keep.

Sally said...

Editing another's work helps me to keep perspective. I make every effort to be kind in my remarks but realize a firm pen only enhances the work. Remembering that when looking at the firm pen upon my own work helps to ease the pain.

ferida said...

Right you are, Hope, about editor's changes. When I signed a contract for my picture book THE STORY BLANKET it was almost 900 words. Before the ink was dry my editor said that I needed to cut it in half. After the initial panic subsided, I did the work. The revised book came out and it held together much better than the original story.