I’m working with a professional editor for the first time and the process has been really great so far. Any artist is apprehensive when they turn over their project to someone whose job is to hack it to pieces before their very eyes.
I mentally prepared myself for this by sharing my work with others. Almost all of them are writers and they've given me some great critiques. Over the past two years, I've thickened my skin to the sting of criticism. It's a painful but necessary process.
Right now, we’re in the revision process of the first two of five acts in the story. We’re taking a detailed look at all the unmended seams in the plot as well as tuning my characters and their arcs so that the story is tight and captivating.
Because I write epic fantasy, there are multiple characters and plot threads to address. I need to introduce readers to the world, but without burdening them with backstory and info dumps. I knew this from the get-go, but in some places, I have pieces of the world unexplained for too long.
I learned that the pieces that are essential to the character's goal and motivation really need to be told to the reader as soon as possible, but they also still need to be treated with tact. This is where my sentences will need to do a lot of heavy lifting in order for the writing to remain clear, correct and alluring.
The hardest part of this process is looking at the ripples that are created with every change I make. I have to examine what each change means for the rest of the story and how it dominos into long term. It’s like playing a game of Jenga. Changing the wrong word, sentence or paragraph can compromise the integrity of the whole story structure, but the right ones will make the story more effective.
I know that many indie authors only have a line or copy edit for their story (if that), but I’m glad that my process resembles the process I expect most major publishing house authors go through. I would rather pay extra than to release a product that can’t stand with the authors I love.
I owe that much to my art and to the literary community.
What About You?
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