In red and ALL CAPS
It is done. Monday was the auspicious day. I gave the manuscript one final read-through over the weekend and sent it off to my editor at MIRA Monday afternoon. I’m both relieved and anxious. No surprise there.
I have to say, however, that the whole revision process wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. Let me explain.
Admittedly, when my editor sent me her initial list of suggested revisions for PUSH, I went on the defensive (Am I wrong in thinking that most authors do?). I was angry at some of her suggestions; how dare she want me to change my already “perfect” story! I printed out her notes and went through them with my red pen, writing my retorts in ALL CAPS and silently telling her what I thought about her proposed changes. My comments, of course, were never read by anyone but me, and they never will be. They were just a way for me to vent and sort through my feelings.
I had no idea how emotionally connected I was to my book – until someone pointed out its flaws.
I waited two days to reply to her list of suggestions because I wanted a chance to collect my thoughts before we discussed it. I didn’t want to sound crazy and over-emotional, though inside I was spitting fire. I wanted to be an adult about the whole thing. I emailed her and we agreed to talk via Skype. I’m all about face-to-face connections and thankfully she was game.
We spent three hours – three hours!! – discussing the book and how she thought her suggested revisions would only make it better. It was the most interesting three hours I’ve had in a long time. Seeing my book through someone else’s brain was very enlightening. We came to innumerable compromises, discussing every possible angle before arriving at each of them. I’m thankful for her patience and her willingness to hear my side of each point. I’ve worked with plenty of non-fiction editors who have no interest in hearing an author try to validate their point – it’s their way or the highway. It’s refreshing to work with an open editor.
When I closed Skype and looked over my new list of handwritten notes, I knew I had a lot of work to do. The first thing I did, of course, was call my agent to update her on our progress. While we were chatting, she said something that stuck in my mind. I don’t remember her exact words, but it was something like “As you work on the revisions, I think you’ll discover that these changes will make the story so much better. It will take some time, but you’ll see that she was right about them.” When she said it, I doubted her. I brushed it off.
But here I am, confessing loud and clear that she was right. The revisions did make PUSH so much better. They unclouded it, sexed it up, made it sing. I genuinely love David and Emma’s story even more than I did before. I didn’t think it was possible, but it’s true. And I knew it even before all the revisions were in place – I knew it by the time I hit chapter three.
Now, I’m not saying there won’t be more work to do. I haven’t heard from my editor since I sent the revised manuscript to her four days ago. She could very well come back to me with another editorial to-do list. But that’s okay. I get it now. She isn’t trying to “break” my story; she’s trying to help me build it. I understand, and I am grateful.