This is the second in a series of posts on the publication process. I’m following the progress of my new novel, Arcadia, in its metamorphosis from manuscript to book.
After delivering a complete draft, I wait for my editor to comment. I’m lucky that my editor reads fast, so I don’t wait too long. In this case, my editor and agent both finished my book over the Labor Day weekend. I talked to both about their impressions. When I talk to my editor, I take notes, and I’m careful to write down all her questions. I’ve already done quite a bit of revision on my own, but now I’ll be revising with her queries in mind.
Even more important than our phone conversation will be the memo my editor writes me. I like a written response because by its nature, a letter requires my editor to articulate, prioritize, and develop each point in a way that free flowing conversation does not. This is our fifth book together, so we know each other well. We trust and respect each other. As in every editorial relationship there’s give and take. I tend to agree with most points–although not all. We talk about character development, back story, drama, pacing, all the elements of a narrative.
After I receive my editor’s memo and think hard about it, I will start revising. When I finish my revision, I’ll send her the new draft, and then we will generally repeat the process for a second revision together! Judging from past books, this process will take several months. Only when we’re both satisfied, will the book will move on to the copy editor.
What I enjoy about working with my editor is the chance to discuss my work as it develops. When I finish a draft, I trade solitude for dialog with an astute reader.