Greetings from the Black Hole of Editorial Revisions!
For the first-time author, the path to publication can feel like you’ve been sucked into a black hole of unknowns after you write the words ‘The End’. You’ve written a novel, now what? There are certain milestones of which most writers are aware as they attempt to get their book prominently positioned on the local bookstore shelves: write your novel, find an agent, sell your book – that part we all know about. But there is a crucial next step that may not be as familiar: Editorial Revisions. *revisions – revisions – yes, that’s an echo you hear….and there’s probably a reason for it….*
Editorial revisions are the step where the editor (who loves your book so much that they’ve paid good green cash for it – never forget this part) goes through the manuscript and provides the author with his or her suggestions, (usually on every page) on how to improve the writing to make the book publishable. Then you rinse and repeat. Several times.
At first glance, when you receive your marked-up manuscript and notice that all available white space on the pages are filled with bubbles of editing comments – it might seem a little daunting. *cough cough* But fear not – the tales of heads exploding from editorial revisions are grossly exaggerated. … I think.
But joking aside, I am finding these revisions to be a fantastic learning opportunity. I view them as having a personal master class in writing. A class where you’re the only student, and the teacher is totally focused on giving comments to your work and specifically to the areas on which you need to focus .
I count myself especially lucky because my editor leaves the door open for discussion on any of her suggested changes. And though I’m only about a third of the way through my novel, already we’ve had some fantastic conversations about character motivations, plot development, story arcs and proportion.
What about you? How do you view the revision process? Necessary evil or fascinating insight?
Kiki Hamilton‘s debut novel, The Faerie Ring, will be published by Tor Books in Spring 2011. She is currently working on editorial revisions with her fabulous editor, Susan Chang. Learn more about her and other kt literary clients here.