So, you may have noticed the word count bar twitching all over the place lately. That, readers, is the pulse of revisions. I’ve been through the manuscript three times over the past five days, once each with a series of corrections from three editors/beta readers.
The feedback so far has been extremely helpful, and I have a triumvirate of editors who each offer something unique to the draft. My mother has been serving as my primary editor for a while. She could totally do this for a living. I just finished going through her latest edits, which are mailed to me in manila envelopes and covered with red ink.
I love the collaborative process in general, but it’s even more special with my mom. For countless years, the two of us have been working crossword puzzles together, doing two clues apiece and passing them back and forth. This is the mother who taught me to read, who reinforced it all my life, who kept me buried in all the books I could ever want, and who always seems to be around when I’m finishing my latest draft. There’s a mystery writing team by the name of Charles Todd that is actually comprised of a mother/son duo. I interviewed them once and met them at another book convention, and I now understand why they rave about this unique intellectual and familial bond. I cherish it.
My other collaborator is my muse, my wife. I write to make her laugh, to make her cry, to have her on the edge of her seat. She motivated me through my first book and continues to provide the push I need to want to excel. And she’s an outstanding editor. She spots weaknesses in the story, uses her mastery of psychology (that doctorate comes in handy!) to show me where a character’s motivation might not be clearly explained. These comments in the margins and our discussions about the plot show me where I need to work harder. On top of this, she consistently finds a typo or grammatical mistake missed by everyone else. This is why the more eyes on a draft, the better. It’s so easy to get lost in a story and have your eyes fill in the blanks or correct the mistakes.
My third collaborator is my original editor, Lisa Kelly-Wilson (yeah, of Soldja Boy and 100th review fame). Lisa tore my first Molly Fyde book apart while also convincing me that it was awesome enough to query to agents and publishers. She might be my #1 fan. I rib her with the “erstwhile editor” label, but it’s a term of endearment. Her ruthless savagery drips from the track changes she mauls my documents with. I go through them wary, flinching with each sting of correction. And my works always come out the other side greatly improved.
And that’s been my week, before and after my penultimate days of day-job working. One stack of pages mailed from my mother, two sets of Word documents from my biggest fans, and a draft that is getting massaged into place, one pass at a time. I am currently through 11 chapters of about 30. The plan is to have this thing perfectly readable by Monday. At that time, I may send it out to a few beta readers and let them look it over while I begin the pagination and Kindle process. Small changes can be made based on their feedback, but I would like the proof copy ordered sometime next week. After that, there will be a proof unveiling (live on uStream, probably), and then a ton of hype leading up to the release.
That’s the plan. Stay tuned to see if it unravels!