Yesterday I received the editor’s notes on my first novel. Thirteen pages full of suggestions and ideas and … stuff.
I read it through once, heart in my mouth. Every suggestion, idea and… stuff… requires me to delve back down into that place from which writing comes and bring forth… more. Better. The best I can do. Even though I thought that I’d already given my best. I need my Bestest Best now.
I got these notes three hours after I had sat down with the first draft of my second novel and gone through it with a fine-tooth comb. All I could see was the work I had to do. So. Much. Work. But it goes on the back-burner now while I focus on the first one.
I am learning so much with this process. I know that I have written before about the fact that your first draft is not your book. But now I know just how much it changes. You can’t hide from an editor. Things that in your heart of hearts you know are not developed enough will not be ‘overlooked’. They see straight through to the book it could be. And they make you do the work to get it there.
I will not pretend this is not agonising. Because it is. The editor’s note that I wanted to receive would have said this: “Dear Allison, we think your book is absolutely perfect the way it is, do not change a word.” In some Parallel Universe, Parallel Allison is receiving just that note. She is Parallel Thrilled.
Here though, I’m all wound up and thinking hard, gnashing my teeth and weeping a little inside. It’s all about details. More and more and more details. Building the best book that I can. The sheer, hard graft of writing.
And I will take all the lessons I’m learning to the second draft of my second book. Hopefully getting better each time, making the process that bit easier each time. Because I want there to be more times.
And one day, maybe I’ll get that Parallel Editor’s Note. (A girl can dream, right?)