I wasn't sure quite what to expect when I got my first edit letter. Something awful? Something soul-rending? I've heard enough writers wail about their edit letter and the impossibleness of it that I knew enough to be nervous. But I also hoped it would be like the most amazing critique from a smart writing friend I'd ever gotten -- only BETTER.
Basically, it was. I mean, yes, there were some difficult parts. You want me to do WHAT? But the first time I read the letter, I felt this huge sense of relief. It wasn't scary. I could see where my editor really cared about the story, and all the important things she spotted and wanted me to draw out. I could see where she was trying to make me a better writer.
In fact, once I was finished with editing INCARNATE, I moved on to use the same letter for book 2. Just judging by what she'd pointed out in the first, I could tell what she'd ask for in the second. I revised book 2 according to the first letter so she wouldn't have to ask for the same changes twice. Because how boring is that? This way, we could move on to new things. Better things. More advanced things. This way, book 2 will be even better than book 1. And if the pattern holds, book 3 will be best of all.
I learned that this shouldn't be a scary process. It can be intimidating, sure! But the right editor will inspire and help draw out the most important parts of the book. She will help make a good book great, and encourage the writer to try new things, to stretch herself. The right editor will make a story shine without ever showing that she was there.
So yeah, I love being edited. I love learning from someone as brilliant and inspiring as my editor.
Jodi Meadows is the author of INCARNATE. (January 31, 2012 - HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books.)
She lives and writes in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, with her husband, a Kippy*, and an alarming number of ferrets. She is a confessed book addict, and has wanted to be a writer ever since she decided against becoming an astronaut. You can find her on her website and blog.
*A Kippy is a cat.