You might remember from my post on first-round edits* that my editor uses Track Changes in order to leave comments and questions throughout my manuscript.
During my first round, I worked on the manuscript for 3-4 weeks, making changes Nicole suggested, adding scenes, moving portions of the story, etc. I answered many of her questions by leaving a comment under her own:
NG: I must be in a cutting mood. Is this first stanza necessary? Does time make ANY difference to this scene? I think no, see what you think.
For the second round, I worked on the manuscript for two weeks. Before she sent the manuscript on to me, Nicole cleaned it up, officially accepting the changes that were working for both of us. Our conversation continued:
NG: She’s in fightin’ mode here.. She ain’t goin’ into battle in a freakin’ shawl! Armor perhaps? Or something else, maybe not quite as overt?
CSR: You crack me up.
NG: The quilt’s folded over my coat,
Wrapped from shoulders to elbows
Like (adj) armor.
Adjective could be anything from the kind of quilt it is, what it feels like, how inadequate it is—puffy, damp, cotton—I’d like you to stretch here. Don’t return with “weak” or “soft”—show the reader in one word that she’s outmatched. You can do it!
CSR: or faded? “like faded armor”. I suppose Mrs. O wouldn’t bring old quilts into her marriage. Maybe they’re worn out from all of May’s use. Maybe May took Mr. O’s old one, the one that ended up on her bed…
Why am I taking the time to share comments that are most likely unclear and uninteresting to most of you? Here are a few reasons why:
- The editing process is a true partnership. If my work improves, it benefits both of us.
- My editor trusts my ideas and is wise enough to shoot down things that would make me look ridiculous.
- Edits are like intensive study sessions with someone who knows your work inside out and can inspire you to make it better.
- Each round builds on the last.
I’ve never learned so much about writing as I have this summer. Here’s to more lessons next month, when I begin my third round.
Check out my earlier posts on the publication process: