by Cynthia Levinson
The “whole big wad,” as my editor called it, arrived today. It’s wonderful–as in full of wonders. First, I no longer wonder why I hadn’t heard from her in three months: she’s been totally immersed in improving my ms. Soooo much so that I wonder if her family heard from her in that time. And, of course, I wondered if she wondered why on earth she bought the thing in the first place.
So, I emailed my agent. “Should I be mortified? Beg my editor to forgive me?” Here’s what our beloved EMU advised: “Get over yourself! (I say with great kindness.) This is the process.”
Her splash of reality sat me down at my desk, squared my shoulders, and set me to work. Task 1: Download and save all the edits. Task 2: Back up the computer. Tomorrow’s job: Figure out if any three contiguous words, not including “and the,” from the original version remain in the edited one.
Peeps from the NestA response from Jeannie Mobley
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I am beginning a revision process of an entirely different nature. Actually, I don’t have a ranch, but I live in Colorado where a lot of people do, and I’ve always wanted to say that.
When the deal finally happened in early November, my editor wanted to know how fast I could revise the manuscript, so we could settle on a planned publication date. This is a bit of a tricky question to answer when one has no idea what revision is going to entail. It is also a question that has a qualified answer. As a college professor, my day job means I have very little writing time and I work slowly while classes are in session, but once winter, summer, Thanksgiving or spring break rolls around, I write “like a demon” as someone recently put it. (As I do not know any demons personally, with the exception of my cat who does not write due to a lack of thumbs, I cannot verify this. Suffice it to say, I write frequently and fast during my breaks.) Since we were six weeks from my winter break, this information was conveyed to the editor, with the hope that the process could start in December.
My editor, however, had other things on her plate, and responded that she could not possibly get me a revision letter by mid December. Instead, I was given two or three sentences of broad direction, with which I am undertaking my first revision. The plan is, revise around this main idea (specifically, making the main character and story a bit younger), resubmit that, and then await further instructions.
I’m not sure if revisions are easier with the “whole big wad” or with a vague point in a certain direction. I imagine we’ll both have the chance to find out.