I’ve mentioned before that my favorite part of the book writing process is working with my editor, Wendy. Getting edits back from her is like opening a birthday present. (Geeky to think that? Probably.)
You would probably think that my favorite part is writing the book itself. And I do love that part. I love getting all the ideas in my head on paper. Now that I’m into the second book, I love figuring out how all the pieces will fit together for the series and seeing parts of that come together. But to be honest, writing the first draft is also very stressful to me. Blank pages just waiting to be filled, trying to make sure the ideas flow and work together, and (with the second book) the pressure of a deadline.
Part of what I love about the editing process is the relief at having the first draft done. The story itself is on paper, so that piece of the pressure is off. Now it’s about perfecting. During our first round of editing – while we catch the grammar stuff – we really focus more on the story line and content. We go through things like the plot, the tension, the characters, the dialogue, the flow, and so on.
Fun With My Editor
Wendy also makes the process fun. Her comments are always relevant and helpful. But she also injects funny little things that are just so Wendy. And she puts in comments about what she likes, so I get a sense of what to keep doing. If you can find an editor who gives you feedback (and I mean honest and constructively critical feedback) that jives with your style and your vision for the book, I highly recommend it. And by that I mean, if your first editor doesn’t do that for you, try another, and another, until you find that synergy.
Seeing the Results
There is something just really cool about knowing where I started with the first draft, working through the process with Wendy, and seeing where it comes out on the other side. So much better than how it started. And I like to think that it started from a decent place anyway – although I feel that way more about Hyacinth than I did about Blue Violet.
I will be incredibly curious to see how the editing process goes for the second book. (And after our first round of content edits is done I’ll share how it went.) Wendy has already mentioned that she can see an improvement from the first to the second book. As I wrote Hyacinth I kept all the things we did to improve Blue Violet in the back of my head and tried to apply them as I went. It meant that the first draft took a lot longer to write. I finished the first draft for Blue Violet in six weeks (okay – so I was a little obsessive). Hyacinth took me more like five or six months. I hope that means it’s even better!