Editor giving feedback on first draft

Book Update: Why I’m Not Loving My Editor

Many of you may know that I am attempting to write a book. My blog says the book is written, which is true. I did write a full 97,000 words. However, saying it’s written infers that in some way it’s finished, which is far from the truth. Before submitting the story to agents (to hopefully get it sold to a large publisher) I found an editor to go through the story and help me get it cleaned up, thereby increasing my chances of getting it picked up by a large publisher. And if no large publisher picks it up after several (more than 30) tries, I’ll move on to working with an independent publisher.

Anyway, the editor has had the manuscript for a couple months and we are just now getting down to the work of going through her concerns over the phone. Now I miraculously managed to find someone who actually really cares about the story, and wants to see it in its best form possible. But the horrible flip side to that is that she isn’t just sending me back grammatical and structural issues. She is going through the holes in the story, the inconsistencies, the flatness of my villain. And it is not fun. It may even be more fun to go to the dentist than to talk through the issues in my manuscript with her.

She is a perfectly lovely woman who is very intelligent and respectful in her feedback. But basically she doesn’t feel my manuscript is in a shape to be saleable to anyone. Mind you, I was hoping to start querying agents by the end of June. It’s June 13th. That’s not happening. When I speak to her I have to breathe deeply and remind myself I’m paying her to tell me these things about my manuscript and not to take her words personally and hang up on her.

Horses Pulling Car Out of Sand Fort Worth Stockyards Texas
I feel a little like the car in this scenario, a little bogged down. This photo was in the original stock trader’s building at the Forth Worth, Texas stockyards. Apparently I have a thing with buried cars (see 10 Years Ago A Tow if you don’t know to what I’m referring).

We had our second conversation tonight and she was discussing the narrative perspective of the story and I was whining about how working through these issues was going to be painful. Her response? “It’s not going to be painful, it’s going to be awful.” She fully gets how distressing it is to hear that your project, that was 10 years in the making, that took several hundred hours to craft, is still in rickety shape. It’s like I just built a Pinterest pallet table with only three legs. I spent all my energy putting it together, and now she wants me to go back and add a leg and make it look less like a pallet and more like some Restoration Hardware piece of art. But I’m exhausted!

She doesn’t care. And neither do any of the readers out there who would pick up the three-legged pallet version of the book. They want the Restoration Hardware version. I have some hard work ahead of me. But I certainly didn’t put all those hours into the thing just to shrug and say, “Eh, it’s good enough.”

And for all of my lovely people who might say, “Well what does she know? You don’t have to listen to her! Your manuscript is flawless!” It’s true, I don’t have to take any of her suggestions. But the problem is that I know the issues she’s pointing out are valid. I missed a step, I forgot to give the reader some information, my villain IS rather flat. So I can’t just let it remain with these problems that I know are actual problems. They have to be fixed. It wouldn’t be fair to the story to just leave little piles of unfinished work and holes around the story.

So my new goal is to have the thing in better shape by September. I don’t know if it will be ready to query agents by then or not, but at least I have a goal for when to have the issues fixed.

I’m not feeling sorry for myself, I know that I can’t complain because I’m writing a book and it’s hard (imagine whiny annoying voice). No one cares. Of course it’s hard. If it was easy, everyone would do it. And apparently a lot of people DO write books that maybe they didn’t take the time to craft to perfection and that’s why Simon & Schuster didn’t immediately fall all over themselves trying to sign the author as fast as possible. But hopefully I can polish my work to a point that Simon & Schuster pauses for a moment and takes a second look. (Or falls all over themselves, that’s fine too, just trying to be cautiously hopeful here).

So that’s where the book is at, if you’re wondering. I’m in some weird universe where I’m paying someone to tell me what’s wrong with me. I mean the book. I guess that’s what trainers are to horseback riding, I just have a smaller ego when it comes to horseback riding, so it’s not as painful when they tell me I’m not doing so hot. I already know. I’ll keep plugging along. Just wanted to give an update, and maybe to garner a teensy-weensy bit of sympathy, I mean, it’s not great to hear about all the problems with the book. But I’ve got to go through it to get to the other side and have the book be better than good.

Published by

Theresa Rice

Writing a modern day western and telling my daily stories of humor, sadness or inspiration. Depending on the day, it might be all three.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *