July 25th, 2012

Editorial Letters and Planning the Attack!

Hi Everyone!

Hope you're having a lovely summer. I just returned from hubby's family reunion in Arizona where it poured rain, but we had canopies up and just kept on going, eating, talking, and having our very own mini Family Olympics, complete with medals and cheers in celebration of the Summer 2012 world-wide Olympics.

The day before I left town I received my first editorial letter from my brand new editor at my brand new publisher, Harpercollins. Exciting stuff! It's really happening! My book of eight years of research and writing and revising, of selling and then not selling (long story I won't go into here) is scheduled for Fall 2013. And I've recently learned that it will be a LEAD TITLE!!! Wow. It's hard to take that in. My little ole book is important to a major publisher like Harpercollins. I'm blown away, thrilled to pieces, grateful and humbled.

The pressure is on to make it rise even higher in story/plot and suspense and writing and characterization. I want it to sparkle, shimmer and shine. I want readers to enjoy it. Actually I want readers to LOVE it and talk about it to everyone they know like crazy! Ha! I want them to fall in love right along with Jayden and Kadesh. I want them to feel the sweat and danger and hardships of desert life in 1750 BC. I want them to belly dance and shimmy their hips right along with Jayden in the fragile and emotional world of the women and the goddess temples.

So I'm reading my 8 page, single-spaced letter, digesting the pencil-edited manuscript, and am going to begin my own personal compilation of notes for the changes I need to make. About several pages worth. Even though I refer to the editorial letter often, I usually like to do one of my own. As I accomplish each task or goal, I can cross it off and feel that I'm making progress.

I also take the number of pages - 325 - and divide them by the number of days I have been given to do the work - 20 Days Total, Mondays thru Saturdays (I never work Sundays) - and then I know how much I need to do each day. For this project this means I need to revise 16.25 pages per day. Which doesn't sound like much, but there are some big questions to answer, dozens of them, and I will be focusing on plot, character, setting and timeline for each and every scene. So the pages will be painstaking to cut and line-edit as well as enlarging and honing.

The work usually begins slowly, tentatively, because I haven't worked on this book for over a year, and that was just a light edit before my agent submitted the project to editors (the trilogy sold in a significant deal in 2.5 weeks!). The last time I did any sort of bigger changes to this book was about 15-16 months ago. During these past many months I've written another book, gone through editorial production with it as well as written two new proposals for my editor at Scholastic so my head has been elsewhere for a long time.

So, as I begin, I cling to the first paragraph of my editorial letter and my new and brilliant editor's generous words:

"When I first read this, it was unlike anything I had read in a long time. It thoroughly captivated me—the setting, the culture, the romance . . . You have a wonderfully complex, deep story here . . . a sweeping epic romance!

Smiling and chewing my fingernails at the same time!