A couple of months ago my first novel, The Executive Officer’s Wife, re-released. It was the very first thing I submitted anywhere for publication, and I must admit I was taken aback when it was accepted right out of the gate. I was fearful of that abrupt yes. Crazy right? I later found out my fears were founded in that it wasn’t good enough and still have no idea why it was picked up so easily. Well, I have ideas, but those aren’t for sharing here.
That started this journey. It wasn’t until I experienced what going through the wringer with a real editor was really like and I realized just how bad off The Executive Officer’s Wife, my baby, really was. It was so bad it actually was embarrassing and even more embarrassing was the fact that no one had pointed this out to me. As soon as I had the opportunity I pulled it, scoured it, scrubbed it, fixed and polished and even added some stuff. I’m not sure that it’s good enough even now, but I promise you it’s a hell of a stretch better than it was. And what were all these issues I had with that manuscript? Asking me what I didn’t do wrong would probably take up less space actually. You name it, it was wrong. I look back now and laugh at how pissed off I was the first time a reviewer slapped my hand for head-hopping. What was that? That was the real problem after all. It wasn’t for lack of being called out for it, it was for lack of knowledge, that I became incensed with anger. Why, why, why, why, why had my editor not pointed out these problems? Why? I know the reason now, and that’s also not a topic to be discussed here. Thank goodness that first real editing session forced me to see the light.
So, the point of view issues were just the beginning really. It actually took me almost as long to revise it as it had taken me to write it to begin with. Sad really how clueless we are in the beginning. Sadder yet is the lack of guidance some of us get, and even sadder is that so many people that are given guidance take it for granted or publicly gripe about the harshness with which their editor edits. My advice…honor they editor. If you have one you think’s a harsh old bitty, well, guess what folks you’ve just won the lotto. It’s been my experience that the harsher the editor the more likely they know what they’re talking about and the more you have to gain by listening and learning. Take advantage of it. Ask questions. Take notes. Improve.
This is a never ending journey folks. One that there’s no real road map for. There are sunny days, cloudy days, days that the sky opens and gigantic balls of hail rain down on your desk. You meet a lot of people along the path. Some are genuine, willing to help when you’re down, others are shady, some are free spirits others more conservative. Sometimes it’s really, really tiring. But the one constant is that every day there is something to be learned. Open your mind and heart to the learning. Appreciate the teachers that karma throws in your way. And if your teacher sucks, well, remember this isn’t like high school. You have a choice in who your teachers are. Find one, find two, find a dozen as long as they are teaching you something. Most of all…enjoy the ride…
My journey continued with Three for Keeps which is now available at all the major e-book vendors. It debuted five days ago and is doing extremely well. I can’t wait to find out what I can learn from it.
If you’d like to keep up with me and what all I’m learning, please find me at: http://lilamunro.weebly.com .