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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Straddling Two Worlds

Currently, I'm more than halfway through my WIP. So naturally I also received the edits for the soon-to-be-released, A Run for the Money that require immediate attention. It's a delicate balancing act. Not only because the two stories have entirely different plot lines, characters, and settings. Times like these have an incredible impact on a writer's psyche as well.

What I've discovered over the years is that editing a manuscript can often be an exercise in humility. Let's say You, as author, have written a phenomenal line. I'm talking stellar stuff. And suddenly someone else reads that glimmer of genius and remarks, "I don't get it." Or, "This has to be cut." And blam! You realize that maybe you're not Nora Roberts after all.

I know there are some authors who, after several bestsellers, may insist they won't do edits. After all, whatever they're doing obviously works, right? Maybe...

But for me, the edit process is about gleaning a reader's perspective. It's no different than receiving feedback from my critique partners. I view most of my editor's comments as a challenge. (S)he wants the same thing I want: a successful book. Do I dig in my heels or take a step back and try to see what (s)he sees?

Oh, sure. There will always be some instances where I stand my ground regarding a scene, a line, a character's motivation. But for the rest, I look at the challenge. Can I make this line better? If I change my character's belief system, what does it do for the plot? Can I strengthen the story? The idea is to put my ego on hold. Save it for the WIP, but banish it from the room when editing.

While working on a WIP, You are in control. You play God. You decide who does what to whom, when, and with what words. But in the editorial process, You are no longer in charge. Another god steps in and you work together to create a masterpiece.

At least, at the end of the day, that's everyone's wish. Right?

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