Thursday, August 4, 2016

BryonySeries Throwback Thursday: The First Cut is the Hardest

Monday, August 23, 2010

The First Cut is the Hardest

I’m not certain when the first round of edits arrived, since we don’t use the front door much in the winter. One of the kids had opened it on a Saturday afternoon in January and there was my manuscript, packaged and propped against the door.

A list of suggestions accompanied the copyediting. To my relief, those suggestions did not include deletions or plot changes, nothing that drastic. I focused on the mistakes. My husband Ron saw only the positive comments, especially, “A series would sell.” I couldn’t wait to get to work.

The editor wanted to deeper character development in two supporting characters. I was also instructed to deepen scene descriptions (I had focused more on action), use longer sentences, and to eliminate “wordiness” (a general, persistent fault of mine).

Then, an interesting thing happened. I had spent months learning to tell a story in novel form and even more months perfecting it. When I sat down to make my first, official change, I felt like a surgeon operating for the first time, except that I was also the patient. That first slice into my manuscript was the most painful. The rest were substantially easier.

The biggest error I made throughout the manuscript was style confusion (AP vs. MLA) and it was HUGE. The second, not as pervasive, but very embarrassing, was that some of my carefully set page breaks had moved.

It took eight weeks of daily work before Bryony was ready for its second send-off. I set it aside for several days and scrolled through it. I found copy errors and straying page breaks. I cracked.

No comments: