Friday, 2 October 2009


It's October already, how quickly the months go when you're sitting on the edge of your seat - waiting. And at the same time, it drags its ass along causing your nails to end up into little raggedy stumps.

My manuscript is with The Editor.

I feel like a child standing before the teacher who marks your work with a stony face. Whatever thoughts or opinions they have of your work, it leaves no trace of emotion on their features. That is when the mind plays tricks with you and you imagine getting big red X's all over your nicely prepared efforts. I dread to see what my editor has done.

As almost any and every publisher, agent, instruction book or teaching aid on writing will tell you: every book written should be edited. It's like that bitter pill you have to take in order to get to that next step. Even the most acclaimed and well-known authors are not spared the ordeal of editing (that makes you feel somewhat better). No matter how polished it is, it doesn't matter how many times you've read it over to correct mistakes, how many books you've read or opinions you've listened to about your work, once it's in the editor's hands - expect to make some changes.

I say should be edited since they are many out there who would simply refuse an edit. We all have choices, but I decided without question, from early on that an edit for me was a must. As a total novice, this being my maiden voyage into uncharted territory, whatever guidance I received would be welcomed. But, at the risk of making it sound as if my work is crap, an editor will give you an honest opinion of your work and make the appropriate changes or recommendations that you should take in order to best represent and sell your work. After all, I may have explained the process of making the colour red in fifty words and then bored the reader to tears and they'd still see blue. The editor would probably cut it down to ten words and tell you to cut the fluff out and get to the point. You're selling your book, not the colour red.

Since I am yet to experience my ordeal - I've no further comment on the matter for the moment. Sometimes you hear absolute horror stories where your manuscript is chopped to literal pieces; the rewrite doesn't fear any better. I've read many such experiences with growing trepidation. And then, other times, the edits are so minor, you begin to wonder whether you're a brilliant writer after all or the editor is somehow lacking... Regardless of which it is, it must no doubt feel as if someone has taken a knife to your loved one and hacked them to pieces.

But as they will all tell you: Your writing sells the work.

Every day now, irritating you like that uncomfortable strand of wild hair in your nether regions, you think about your work in the hands of The Editor.

You try to ignore it and tell yourself to have a little faith in your work, after all, someone liked it enough to want to publish it - you're not a complete loser. Other times you envision hours upon hours of rewrites and wonder if the book will still make any sense.

Whatever the outcome, my fingers may never grow nails again...

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