Last night, about 2318 hours, I received an email from my publisher with the edits of my manuscript attached. When I saw the email subject line, edits, I was too stunned to open it for a minute. I wasn’t expecting that reaction.
My next thought also surprised me…It’s Alive!
I’m not sure how to relate the experience to a non-writer.
The creation experience is largely solitary. Once a manuscript is written, edited, polished and ready to submit to agents and/or publishers, it’s time to bleed somewhere other than on the page. Because in the process of creation your book has become a part of who you are, and now it’s time to expose yourself to the public at large. You peel off the shield of anonymity, exposing yourself to the slings and arrows of people who don’t know you. Maybe they’re nice people, maybe they’re hater trolls.
Having your manuscript accepted by a publisher is validation in and of itself. But then comes what is arguably the toughest part of the process, watching someone else carve off parts of your work like slicing up a rib roast. If they’re trimming the fat you missed, cutting out the gristle, they are making the meal taste better. But what if you think the fat adds flavor?
Your baby cries when the editor spanks it’s butt.Tears roll down its cheeks. You want to cuddle it and tell it everything will be alright.
That’s when your book is really born, the rest is gestation.
When I got those edits back there was one section that I knew would be heavily cut. We had discussed it before and I generally agreed with the concept, but seeing it done is different. There was pain as my words were found superfluous, even though I knew the edits made the book even better than before.
And they did. The edited parts rock, they really rock. Sure, I hate seeing some of it go, those words were every bit as hard to write as the ones we kept, but sharpening the prose can only be done by paring it down.
I’m stoked! Where’s a beach, it’s time to read!