October 19, 2015

Oscar Wilde once wrote a perfect description of the editing process. He said he spent the entire morning examining one of his poems for the purpose of editing it. At the end of the morning, he removed the word “and” from a sentence. In the afternoon, he returned to the poem, examined it further, and re-inserted the “and.”

Not a bad description of brain-splitting calls in judgement.

Some writers enlist a group of friends periodically to listen and critique sections of  a working manuscript.   At the end of this writing/revising process, the author sends the manuscript to the publisher’s editor, the major work having been done.

For me, the most valuable approach to handling a working manuscript is to have a first-rate editor who understands my writer’s voice, my general philosophy, and my preoccupations from novel to novel. I have access to such an editor. She is in full sympathy with my recurrent themes—those dealing with a woman’s heart.   She encourages the best in me, asks the right questions, plants remarks in the margins like “I’d like to see a conversation here between A and B.”

To keep you, my blog readers, in the loop, I recently submitted my manuscript to my editor and she made copious notes (14 pages). I read the 14 pages more than once, combed through the red marks in the text itself, and in a preliminary re-tooling have already added 60 pages.

I will submit the manuscript a SECOND time to the editor (never did this in the past) because the ideas in this novel  about the heart of a woman are so complicated and challenging. And my expectations for the novel’s success are so great.

Fun? I should say so.