I don’t know if all publishers have a vigorous editing process, but I expect most large houses do. Mine does. HA! Does mine ever.
And this is a good thing. However, going into this process as a first-time author, I didn’t anticipate needing to rewrite about 75% of my book. This past Friday, I turned in the third and final round of content edits, which means I can rest easy for the most part. The book is mostly in its final form.
But, wow, the past six weeks have been rough. Because writing is my day job, I can really only tackle novel writing in the evenings. Over the past month and a half, my daily schedule has looked like this:
- 6:30 a.m. – Get up and get kids to school
- 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. – Copywriting all day
- 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. – Evening kid stuff
- 8:30 p.m. to 3 a.m. – Pound caffeine and edit
- 3 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. – Collapse in a ball of exhaustion and self-pity
Then get up and do it all over again the next day. The pattern repeated for so long, my family started to talk about “the book” as if it were a person. My husband would say things like, “How long did you spend with the book last night?” As if the book and I sneaked out for a clandestine lovers’ meeting in a Waffle House or something. (Isn’t that the perfect setting for a secret romance?) My kids would ask, “Are you almost done with the book?” and “When will you love us again?”
What made it difficult is that I had to completely change my male lead. When I first wrote the book, I sent the manuscript to four publishers. All four expressed interest, and two offered a “revise and resubmit” if I reworked my male lead. One publisher made me an offer (which I accepted), and the fourth declined after I told them about my offer (not terribly uncommon). However, all four wanted to see a total overhaul of the male character. Everyone hated him without reservation. 🙂 This meant cutting every scene he was in and redoing it. And since this is a romance we’re talking about, he’s in nearly every scene.
So, yeah. Lots of rewriting. This was me after hitting “send” on the last round of edits.
“I can’t recall the taste of food, nor the sound of water… There’s nothing, no veil between me and this f&$@ing manuscript.”
But it’s done! I did it. And I learned so much about writing and plotting. I learned that I rely too heavily on adverbs. (See foregoing sentence for an example.) I also learned I have a tendency to write reactions before actions. Example: “She jumped when the door slammed.”
Most importantly, I learned the importance of having a watertight plot before you write. Now, not everyone works this way. Some people belong firmly in the “pantser” crowd. They just start writing and let their muse guide them wherever it will. This doesn’t work for me. I’m a plotter. Here’s a great explanation of the differences between the two styles if you’re interested.
So that part is done. Now I need to get busy on the next one…