How time slips away!
Sometimes schedules collide to make time disappear. However if pressed, I could point to the many pleasures and tasks that have consumed my time.
The biggest of that: my publisher sent the results of the comprehensive edit they completed for my review, comment, revisions and/or acceptance. What an experience! I had to review page by page, read the edits, add/change/delete text based on the comments, and respond with my impressions. There wasn’t a single page without some kind of edit, although many were simple, like adding a quotation mark I missed, or removing a comma. But there also were more significant comments and recommendations, some of which were a little bruising–although I knew on some level the editor was right, the comments stung just the same.
And then there were the obvious clashes of generations. I’m a retiree. I probably have close to 50 years on the editor, which means my life experiences–and therefore my attitudes–were different.
Once again, I had to step back and think about what the editor was saying and why. My novel targets young adults. It’s suitable for older readers, but the fact that two high school seniors are the main characters means it would be categorized as YA. “Self,” I said, “You haven’t been in high school in over fifty years, AND you haven’t had children in high school. Translation: you know NEXT TO NOTHING about being a teen in 2019.
I reached deep inside me to find some genuine humility. Some edit suggestions I still disagreed with. As an example, I had the main character saying she wouldn’t walk home from her summer job when she finished work at midnight because it wasn’t safe, and would be just asking for trouble. The editor said that implied that girls are responsible if attacked, and not the attacker. The top of my head nearly blew off. “Are you nuts?” I thought. Just because it’s not politically correct to say a girl might be inviting trouble walking home alone at midnight doesn’t make it any less dangerous. There are lots of predators out there who don’t care about what’s politically correct. If they see vulnerability, as in a young female the predator outweighs by half her weight, and if they are so inclined, they will take advantage of the opportunity. It has nothing to do with political correctness. It’s about common sense safety. I did compromise on this – I took out the part about “inviting trouble” and just left that it wasn’t safe.
There were a lot of examples like this. I had to keep reminding myself that the book targets young women OF TODAY, not of my generation. So I yielded or at least modified (reluctantly) on many such examples.
Editors aren’t your personal friend. They have a job to do: help you make your book the best, most professional and most salable product possible. This editor showed that she knew her job and had honed her skills to a level of excellence. I didn’t like it. It didn’t feel good. But it was necessary.
So, just when I was thinking, “I should NEVER try to write another young adult story”, I came to the editor’s final comment:
“Job well done! This is among the very finest manuscripts we’ve seen from (this publisher) in eight years.”
Holy smokes! I wasn’t prepared for that!
Bottom line: no manuscript is perfect. The writer is too close to it. A skilled editor can view it through a different lens. The edits may bruise, but the outcome is a much better product.
Now I hope the reviewers agree and her comments are reflected in sales!