Wednesday, October 12, 2011

On Being Edited

In the throes of revision...

 Did Your Editor Make You Change Stuff?

That has to be one of top questions I hear from people when they learn I'm a writer. I wonder if they imagine someone in a New York office with books piled everywhere, slashing away at manuscript pages with a red felt tip pen. I think it's what I pictured once.

I have gone through revisions with one book now, and yes, I was asked to change stuff. The process was very smooth. My manuscript didn't need any substantial changes, so that took some pressure off. And when my editor pointed out a problem or weakness, she urged me to follow my own instincts in deciding how to handle them. I was actually surprised by the amount freedom I was given. I took that freedom, trusting that I'd be told if I'd succeeded or if I needed to keep at it.

I'm just embarking on the editorial voyage with my second manuscript. I already know the road will be very different. This manuscript is far rougher, and more complex. My editor just might bust out the big red pen. She might give me prescriptive comments--cut, add, back to square one. Whatever it is, I will be very inclined to accept it. After a year of working together, I have firm trust in her. And I'm not afraid of a little revision work. To me, that's the fun.

I've heard that writers either love the first draft or they love revisions. I am 100% in the second camp. I'll take revision notes--even if they've met the red felt tip pen--over a blank page any day.


  1. Ooh, I am totally in the revision camp too. Give me a manuscript full of sticky notes instead of new Word doc, PLZ! Also, glad to see someone else's stack of paper full of colorful flags. :)

  2. Having an editor is pretty much the coolest thing ever. I agree - it relieves a lot of the worry - if something's off, I know my editor will catch it and say so. I go back and forth on whether I like revising or drafting better. Right now (since I'm editing), I'm sure drafting is far easier and better ;)

  3. Ditto, Veronica! It's much easier to edit, than write. And MUCH more enjoyable. :)

  4. Ditto. I love being edited, that feeling that I'm making the writing the very best it can be.

  5. We are all revisers, then! Why am I not surprised? I wonder if we have any first drafters among us? Thanks for reading, guys!