Transition Girl

Why transition girl?... Best answered by a quote from the Iliad....."The soul was not made to dwell in a thing; and when forced to it, there is no part of that soul but suffers violence."

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

editorial respect

I submitted my drafted novel manuscript for its first substantive editorial assessment yesterday. I meant to do it the day before but got distracted by an evacuation of my office building (due to a suspicious package being delivered to the mailroom) that kept me out of the office and away from my manuscript for over half a day. The event (the evacuation that is) made the nightly news.

It will take the editor six weeks to work their way through the manuscript for the first time (later iterations will take less time subject to how much rewriting I need to do after the constructive feedback on the content).

I actually like this stage of the editing process. A good editor will provide comments on everything - character, plotting, writing style, dialogue, point of view, pace, narrative, tone, structure, marketing possibilities, audience targetting, even use of research! The objective of this type of editorial is to offer feedback that can assist a writer to improve the content of their manuscript. (Aside: Grammar correction editorial occurs much later in the process when the content is bedded down substantively.)

I have never been a writer precious about the exact form of the words I commit to paper - the sort of feedback offered in manuscript assessment is intended to inspire fresh ideas generated from a fresh perspective. Sure, re-writing some content takes time, but I can unequivocally say that the independent editorial view ultimately supports the delivery of a better end product.

First drafts are never perfect. Final drafts are not either. And the five redrafts in between rely on a symbiotic and trusting relationship between an editor and a writer.

I think this acceptance of the need for feedback is a bi-product of a professional (day job) career focussed on advising. My very first written briefing delivered to a government minister a long time ago (it seems like the dark ages now) was edited several times by folk far more experienced than me. It has been a long career in learning the nuances of communicating and marketing non-fiction messages effectively on challenging public policy issues. (Aside: there are times when I find the editorial done on my fiction writing so much less stressful!)

By the way, I do not need to agree with all the feedback given to me by my editor. Suggestions are after all just that, suggestions. It is nonetheless important to listen to the wise counsel a good editor provides. Respect your editor. The end result will be a better manuscript.


Blogger Ergo Alt said...

So exciting!! Can't wait to see the final product!
Feedback is such a delicate skill. Both the giving and receiving. I admit, when I receive feedback on my music, I find it difficult to sort through the feedback that will reap major improvements from the feedback which won't. It's a really tough job!

4:06 PM  

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