Have Your Pity Party: But Then Get to Work
When you get the letter from an editor about a revision, what do you do?
Frankly, I get mad. How dare that misguided editor diss my perfect mss?!
Only 3 days. For novels, I give myself the luxury of three days of being mad before I get down to work. For 3 days, I get to gripe to my journal, to my DH, to myself. NEVER gripe to anyone else, of course. NEVER jeopardize a great editorial relationship by expressing your frustrations to the public.
Embrace the emotions–then move on. I think it’s important to let these emotions have their play and not deny them. Writing a novel is a bit of an ego trip anyway, don’t you think? I mean,who am I to think that I could tell a story that would hold an audience enthralled? Who am I to think that some world and some characters that I make up from my imagination–well, do you hear all the “I” and “my” in what I’m saying?
Writing a novel is an ego-trip. And when an editor gives “feedback,” my pride says that I don’t need their feedback and they are wrong anyway, because they just didn’t get it.
I’ve expressed this frustration here, too: I Don’t Want an Honest Critique
REALLY read the letter. Of course, three days later,when I have a bit of distance,I REALLY read the letter and, of course, they are right and I wonder why I didn’t see it before.
In the end, you must get over it! And get to work.
2 Common Revision Issues
Audience. I’m dealing with a couple revision letters right now. One is mostly a matter of audience. I’m working on a book for teachers about writing and the editor continually makes minor corrections that will make the material work better for teachers. Audience is everything in these revisions.
If you’re writing a mystery, you must know your audience. Picturebook? What age level child are you writing for? In every type of writing, the audience will determine much of the revision.
Clarity of Communication. A second project is more about fine-tuning the story, making the characters a bit sharper, providing a better ending and probably making the language sing a bit more. Here, it’s story, characters, story arc, and language. Either way, the editor’s goal is better communication.
I do take time to let my ego have it’s pity party; but then, I cut that short and get to work. How long do you allow for a pity party before you get down to work?
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