Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My Fiction Day - The Good Editor

Losing my beloved dachshund, then seeing my youngest marry on the 15th, then hearing the news my oldest got hired and set a date to move out (tomorrow actually) sort of threw me off my game in October. Good news, sad news, life altering news . . . a month of change. I'd also written several chapters of a new nonfiction book, a project on my bucket list, and I hit a wall longer than the Great Wall of China. I had no desire to write that book. Not now anyway. So I put it up for a few weeks, at which time I'll write it over from scratch.

So I blogged, wrote newsletter editorials, wondering when the heck my editor would finalize the line-edits of my novel. The release date is tentatively mid-February, so I was getting nervous about that as well. Between now and then we have to go through copy edits, a new title and a cover, not to mention a promotion plan. Add to that a new website, obtaining blurbs, and so on, and time seemed to be squeezing me in.

So I started having dark thoughts. I'm one of those who thinks long, hard and deep. Let me go on too long, and I can imagine anything, in intricate detail. So I started thinking maybe the publisher had lost interest in my book after having seen better books come in from better authors. The editor was several weeks overdue getting back to me, and I didn't want to be THAT writer who nagged with emails and phone calls. I felt like one big frayed edge of a very long scarf.

Then the editor emailed me Monday and asked if we could talk.

The concerns started again. What if she didn't like my last edits? To bridge what she felt was a minor gap, I'd even created a minor character . . . without telling her. What if the action scene she said needed work . . . still needed work? I expected the release date to be pushed back. I agreed to a phone chat the next day, to get this over with.

I called her. She called me back. I opened the changed manuscript and held my breath as she opened her copy.

She loved the changes. I mean, really loved them. We chatted about loving edits and hating blank pages. We agreed on one edit, then another. We chatted about maybe moving the release date . . . sooner. She talked excitedly about other authors they'd just signed, but she did it in a way that made me proud I was affiliated with such a strong, up-and-coming publishing company. By the time we hung up, I had five small changes to consider. Thirty minutes later, I sent the corrections back. All done. The copy editor will now look for typos, and I'll get one more chance to go behind her for anything she missed.

And I felt good thanks to how an editor treated me. Life turned on a dime, all because someone validated my work. On one hand I felt silly letting myself lose touch with my common sense, to allow myself to be taken down by events out of my control. On the other hand, my belief in my publisher was strengthened, underscoring my original trust in them.

Writing is not an easy journey. It's not designed for the faint of heart or weak-willed. And it's amazingly refreshing when a "gatekeeper" along the way holds the door open for us as we walk through. Something we can keep in mind as we travel along this path; for what we say to another writer can mean so much more than we originally intended. You never know what kind of month the person has had.


Cheryl Barker said...

Don't worry, Faith, you're not the only one whose thoughts and worries can spiral out of control. I think it probably happens to all of us. I can certainly identify.

This is a good reminder to be careful with our words as we critique one another's work.

Glad to hear things are coming along so well with your book!

Terri Tiffany said...

Thank you for sharing this part of your journey--- I am sure so many can relate. Hope I get there someday!

Diva Jefferson said...

Hope, feedback is a powerful ally. It allows authors to know how well they are doing in their journeys and to light their path.

Thank you for your insight. You are a very hardworking person who could make it over any hurdle.

Good luck with your new book.

-Diva J.

Hope Clark said...

Thanks, y'all. Feedback has a remarkable power, that's for sure. We just can't let it consume us to the point it overwhelms our own common sense, too.

Janet, said...

It's good to see that someone else worries besides me. They say that 99 % of what we worry about is something that we need not worry about. Congratulations and good luck with your book

Janet Hartman said...

It's good to read a positive post about an editor for a change.

Georganna Hancock M.S. said...

What Janet said! Let me know about your new book, and I wish you good luck and peace as well.