My Editor Is Awesome*
*She also made me feel miserable for half a day.
It took a month of patient (sometimes impatient) waiting, but my professional editor, Kim Chance, got back to me on the last day of May. When her email dropped into my inbox saying that everything was ready, I jumped out of my seat, cheered, and let my fingers roam across the keyboard as I banged out random character combinations to my CP in excitement. She, too, was very excited, as we both knew the importance of this day for me. The feedback I would receive from my editor - and subsequent changes I'd make based on it - would be, in my mind, the final major step before I lock down my manuscript and prepare it for beta readers.
I hurriedly typed a response to Kim, saying that I was ready for everything she had. The email was sent as I anticipated a quick follow-up, complete with my manuscript and her edit letter...
Little did I know, but she was having some major internet issues on her end. Due to that happening at the most inappropriate time, she wasn't able to be as prompt as she usually was when I communicated with her in the past.
It didn't take long for my sanity to show signs of total failure.
...five minutes, then ten minutes, then twenty minutes - nothing! Nearly an hour passes and I still don't have anything! NOOOOOOOOOOOOO! WHAT'S HAPPENING TO MY LIFE?!
My CP made a valiant effort in attempting to distract my mind away from the unexpected lull in communications by sending me a fresh chapter from her novella to read. That helped, for sure. We chatted a bunch about her new characters, the plans she's already set in motion for the novella, and when I could expect to see more of her content.
I probably wasn't the best at being her CP at that moment, however, as I couldn't help but think about the documentation from Kim that wasn't in my inbox. Ultimately, I decided to watch some YouTube videos to break the clouds that formed over me. They didn't really help either, but I'd like to think they did.
At the two hour mark... it arrived.
My excitement could not be contained. My CP shared a rational response to my outbursts:
With that, I mashed on the edit letter that was attached to Kim's email and previewed it directly in Google because I was not going to take extra steps to actually open the file in MS Word. No. Need to read - NOW!
The Edit Letter
It was nine pages of single-spaced awesomeness, though you wouldn't know it by how I felt after reading two-thirds of it.
After getting past the initial two paragraphs which explained her methodology of editing and critiquing, Kim dives for the complimentary jugular: She enjoyed reading my book! I can't really type much more than that because I'm not the best at handling compliments, even if I'm describing the compliments I received in the past. But yes, she enjoyed reading my story. Furthermore, she complimented the "quality of my manuscript" thus freeing her time to focus on being "super-picky and super specific" with her recommendations.
And hoooo boy, this is where my mind went from "This is amazing!" to "...shit."
Completely illogical, I know! Kim's here to see me succeed, and to help turn my story into something even more incredible and memorable than it already was. She's an ally, much like how my CP and alpha readers are my allies in this project.
Knowing all of this, the recommendations in her "Big-Picture Changes" section of the letter were both expected (to an extent, thanks to detailed feedback I already received from my CP earlier in May) and dreadful. I use the word "dreadful" in the most dramatic way because the recommendations were certainly not dreadful - in fact, I'll be implementing just about everything that was shared in one form or another. At the time, however, my excitement quickly morphed into sulking, which then fell into a sort of sad resignation of the whole situation.
Nope, my logical side lost control of the wheel long ago at this point.
After trudging through her "Smaller-scale issues" section, she had a few paragraphs that reflected her empathetic nature towards writers, as she clearly understood how people felt after receiving even the most constructive feedback on their story. This was incredibly helpful for me:
She was right: Attempting to act on what I just read would not be a prudent decision. The feelings I had toward her words were raw and, because of that, clouded any rational decisions I would make regarding my book. My CP agreed: "Take the rest of the day off, get some fresh air, and let everything marinate in your mind."
I admittedly felt overwhelmed by the feedback given, but that was only because of how thorough the feedback was, and what it would take to fully address the recommendations provided. I tried tackling other writing-related tasks, but I found it really hard to concentrate on them.
The day I received all the feedback from Kim was easily one of my least productive writing days since I started down this adventure, but thanks to her, I know exactly what I will be doing to elevate my story to where it deserves to be. I cannot wait to dive back into my story once again.
Kim, thank you, once again, for being my editor. You helped me very early on with your 50-page critique of my story - back when I only had six chapters written - you helped with the full critique of my entire story, and I know I'll come back to you in the future.
Kim Chance - Author of YA Fantasy Novel "Keeper"