Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Being Edited

I just got my edits back from my publisher, and it is taking me a few days to wrap my head around them.

The edits aren't major, but they do involve cutting some of my darlings--namely, jokes.

I HATE cutting humor. It's what makes my books different from most of the other thrillers out there.

But if humor gets in the way of the suspense, or of the story, then a cheap laugh isn't worth losing the suspension of disbelief.

That's what I'm trying to convince myself.

Being edited is very much like the stages of death. Let's recap:
  1. Denial - This isn't my book that's been cut to pieces, and I can't really be expected to make these ridiculous changes.
  2. Anger - How dare my editor think that this book is anything but pure gold? She's out of her mind.
  3. Bargaining - Okay, I'll cut these two pages, but let me keep the dog poop reference.
  4. Depression - I can't stand it, my book is being ruined. I can't face making these changes.
  5. Acceptance - Fine. I did everything you asked. And it turns out you were right all along.

I'm just getting over the depression phase, and am trying to work my way through the suggestions.

For those who have never been professionally edited, here's how it works. You get your manuscript back covered with red ink, and are expected to attend to every detail. In some cases, the editor tells you how to fix it (punctuation, grammar). In other cases, she offers 'suggestions.' They aren't really suggestions--they're expectations--but she'll suggest solutions to the proposed changes.

The hard part is when one thread gets pulled and the whole blanket unravels. One change can effect the story globally, causing ramifications later in the book that also need to be changed, which causes more problems, and so on.

In DIRTY MARTINI I've been advised that there is too much action in the first two days of the story, and it should be extended to three days. But when I do that, it throws off the whole timeframe, and I need to juggle scenes, write new scenes, and rewrite a lot of stuff.

I'm doing it, but it isn't a quick fix (like cutting jokes--but that really isn't a quick fix either because I languish over each cut.)

I'm sure I'll be thrilled with the end result--I always am. But plastic surgery is always painful, even if you look better after it is over.

So, I'm through whining, and I'm going to get these changes done right now.

Well, maybe one more day of whining first...