First, if you'd like to hop on over, the lovely Chantele Sedgwick interviewed me. And don't forget that the auction is still on!
So, this came in the mail yesterday. When I pulled it out, I thought something like, "I don't remember it being this...huge." I mean, look at all those pages! And all the purple comments! TRANSPARENT isn't even that long—about 72k. I can't imagine how massive it would have been if I wrote, like, 100k or something. I have A LOT of work ahead of me. Good work—possibly even fun work—just a whole lot of it. (Note to self: Write shorter books.)
But that's not all that came...
Books! Pretty books! I've been wanting to read Ten Things We Did, and the second I pulled out Wildwood I drooled. SUCH a pretty looking book. It looks like a classic already.
Both of these things were so surreal. I mean, I'd heard of people getting books from their editors, but for some reason it didn't process that I would get books from my editor! It was totally unexpected and fun. When I got the package I was so confused as to why it was much bigger than a manuscript, and then I opened it and was all, "Sweeeeet."
Then there's all that writing on my manuscript—and it's not MY writing. I've printed out my books before. I've written all over them. I know what a marked up manuscript looks like. But I can't tell you how weird and cool it is to see my editor's comments on there. My. Editor. It really didn't hit until now that I HAVE ONE OF THOSE. And she read my book and thought a lot about it and has all these amazing ideas on how to make it better. Not only does she have ideas, but she can TELL me her ideas. In querying, I remember how badly I wanted an agent to just TELL ME what the problem was. Well, I got what I asked for, and it's amazing, plus a little bit scary. But mostly amazing.
So I bet you're wondering what you do with a 10-page editorial letter and 274 pages of in-maniscript comments. You aren't? Well, I'll tell you anyway.
First, I freak out a little bit. Or a lot. Have you ever seen the movie Matilda (or read the book, of course)? If you have, you'll remember that scene where a boy is accused of eating the evil principal's chocolate cake. For his punishment, he's forced to eat a gigantic cake and no one can leave the school until he does. It's a little bit like that. I've just had this amazing, rich cake set in front of me, and as yummy as it looks it's hard to see any possible way to eat it all.
I am easily overwhelmed like that. So I have to stop and strategize. The first order of business is to boil down the editorial letter:
It's much easier for me to look at a page and a half of bullet points than the entire letter at once. It's the same amount of work, and yet it doesn't feel like it. I can see that I have 31 points to address, and I can check them off, which helps me see that I am making progress. I like progress.
After that comes breaking down the book into manageable chunks:
Looking at the whole thing at once puts me on edge, so I buy pretty folders and divide the manuscript into sections of about 3 chapters. When I begin edits, I will take out one folder and that's all I will see. It makes it much easier for me to work without getting overwhelmed by the sheer amount of things to do. I will go through each chapter and outline the changes that need to be made, then I'll make them. Then I get to check off more stuff! It's a party.
Okay, there's my "process" post for you. Better get to, like, actually working now.