By Julie Wright
I am the proud mother of a new up and coming author. He’s probably my same age or within a few years of me . . . I’m not really certain. While you’re doing the math, let me explain.
I am his editor.
I remember the first draft that came into my inbox. The manuscript was filled with ellipses with too few or too many dots, lots of telling, very little showing, and a lot of dialogue that didn’t fit his characters at all. But his story had potential and—if he chose to be a willing student—I was willing to roll up my sleeves and teach what I knew.
I finished his last draft today and my mouth hurts from grinning so much. I couldn’t be prouder if it were my own manuscript.
Was it probably hard for him to get those first edits? I bet it was. Criticism of your work is painful—always. I bet he made a poster with my name on it and threw darts at it. Or maybe he stuffed a sock with batting and fashioned it to look like a voodoo doll and jammed it full of pins. Okay, he probably didn’t, but I’ll bet he didn’t like me all that much in the beginning.
Second draft was a whole lot closer, but I’m still betting he heaved a long and heavy sigh before plowing into edits.
Once he does the minor edits I gave him for this last draft, he will have a publishable book.
I have no doubts of his ability to get published. He did the work, took the lessons to heart, and I feel like I’m sending one of my children off to college. There is little more I can teach him. There’s likely still a lot he will learn, but he’ll learn it in his own practice, in his own studies, he’ll learn by doing.
The point of me telling you all of this?
He learned because he set his pride aside and did what it took to make his book the best it could be. Are editors always right when they wield their red pens? No. But their opinions are always worth considering, pondering on, and implementing when they are right.
I’m thinking of Annette’s post on writing revisions. Had Lucas stubbornly insisted that the first idea was the right idea--had he been unwilling to adapt and let the story take on an organic life of its own, would he have had the blockbuster hit Star Wars?
I’ll let you decide.