I got my manuscript back form my editor. She told me to give her four to six weeks. I sent it to her on the 11th and got it back last night. It only took her fifteen days.
My editor is the amazing Ksenia Anske, writer of dark fantasy books such as Rosehead, Siren Suicides, and Irkadura, all of which I loved. I like her style of writing, and I love her storytelling. If you, like me, are attracted to the dark and gritty things in life, you will like or even love her books. She is working on a book now called Janna, that I have been reading as she posts the shitty first drafts on Patreon, and I am both riveted and fascinated by the protagonist. (And her shitty first draft really isn’t all that shitty, which makes me completely jealous of her talent.) I will make it clear that it isn’t for everyone – if you are squeamish, faint of heart, or easily offended – this book is not for you. (And her other books probably aren’t for you either.) If you are interested, and want to read it as she writes it, you will have to support her on Patreon, but I swear on everything holy in the literary world that it is worth every penny. And, if you are in the market for an editor, I highly recommend her.
Okay, I digress. Sort of. Along with my marked up manuscript, which I have chosen to sit on for two more weeks before taking a peek, she sent me an editorial letter that explained and summarized what she had done to my manuscript. She warned me go go grab a glass of wine or vodka before reading the letter because I might feel like crying, but since I was in the car coming home from LAX, my curious nature wouldn’t let me wait until I got home, so I sucked in a deep breath and read it.
By the time I got done with it, I had a huge grin on my face, and my husband (who was driving) asked me if I was okay. I said yes. As Ksenia had warned, she tore my book to shreds, but not in the way I had feared. There was nothing mean, or disheartening, and she didn’t tell me to keep my day job. Everything she said was purely constructive, and when I finished, the wheels in my head were already turning with how I was going to fix what needed to be fixed. It was EXACTLY what I needed. I was actually a bit high on the feed back. Is that weird? My husband told me to spend the next couple of weeks absorbing what Ksenia had told me, strategically plan what I needed to do while reflecting on her wise words, and then dig in and edit the mother fucker.
I can’t publish a piece of shit book. I just can’t. Now I have a valuable tool at my disposal, and I am bursting with excitement to use it. I made a shit load of the first time writing mistakes – lack of scenic description, cliches, story pacing, and my characters needed more of their own distinct personalities – these are things that are hard to catch when writing. When I was writing the first draft, I was focused on telling myself the story to get it on paper, and therefore some of it was stream of conscious. I had already planned on going back and adding details, and I know to put the cliches into my own words. Ksenia made suggestions on what kind of details to add, which was totally helpful. The pace of my story went to fast in some places and right on target in others. In my head, because I knew them, my characters were all distinctly different, but I did a poor job of conveying that. They all spoke the same and acted the same, and I’m so glad someone brought this to my attention.
Trust me, it was easier to have one subjective person tear my book into tiny little pieces, than to have a mixed bunch of readers rip it apart on Goodreads or Amazon. By the time I finish this book, if people hate it, it will be because it’s not their kind of story, not because it’s a poorly written mess. I can so do this!