That’s about how long it takes me to accept a new idea.
Case in point.
Back at the end of December I made the decision to send one of my manuscripts off to Sarah LaPolla at Next Chapter Editorial for an editorial assessment. A few weeks ago I got it back.
Sarah made lots of suggestions, among them to reduce the role of one of my favorite minor characters, Officer Prentiss, which I hated but ultimately had to agree with. Prentiss did take up too much space, space that rightly belonged to my main characters, and in my new revision, I will sadly be seeing far less of Prentiss.
But the worst suggestion was the one to take chapter 21 (150 pages in mind you) and make it chapter one. In light of the fact this was a murder mystery (with supernatural elements), that would’ve meant any evidence discovered to that point would have to be woven into the story another way. Further, it gave the primo spot of chapter one to another character who while not minor, was not the mc. Not to mention all the world building that had occurred. It seemed completely undoable and possibly unwise.
Fast forward to the weekend, where I had begun to believe that maybe the chapter could be moved up to an earlier spot. Maybe. I tried it out. Eh. There would still be a ton of moving information around and new words to hitch it all together. Ugh.
Then last night. My weekly writing meet-up with three other writer friends. I spent part of my hour re-reading that chapter, trying to see what Sarah saw. What made this chapter 21 chapter 1 material?
Then the light came on inside my head. Of course! It was the perfect lead in to my main character and the former chapter one! How did I not see that before? Even better? I knew how move everything around. I could see all the pieces falling into place. Sure, it would still be a lot of work, but with the other suggestions my story would be better, stronger, more cohesive. It was all suddenly clear.
Some of you who’ve had editors before may be familiar with this phenomenon and its timeline. I don’t know how long acceptance comes to others, but it was right around the two-week mark for me. I think I knew right off that that the whole letter was spot on, but it was so hard to envision all the changes at first, the re-arranging, and all that evidence! Where would it go?! Surely, I knew my story and its characters better than…someone in the industry I'd sought out who had track record. Right?
So here I go again revising something I've read countless times and yet... I'm a bit excited to see how fabulous it turns out.
Books I've enjoyed this year so far:
The Light Pirate
Remarkably Bright Creatures
I'll leave you with an awesome pic of some wood ducks (courtesy of Sean Hatch). Next Monday I'll be having Shannon Lawrence here to talk about Happy Ghoulidays, her new collection of holiday horror stories.