Talking to my Editor is both fantastic and terrifying

This evening, Sam and I had a video chat with our editor to discuss his first review of Buk Tu. Both Sam’s wife and our editor’s wife sat in on the video chat, so it turned into a sort of roundtable discussion, which actually was incredibly helpful, though on the outset it was a bit nerve-racking.

If you are a writer, you understand this feeling–the anxiety that comes when you first let others read your work. I am fairly certain that this feeling will never go away, no matter how often you write or publish. Letting other people read your work for the first time will always be daunting. You want readers to sincerely enjoy your work. You don’t want false praise, but you also don’t want the negative end of the stick, either.

To my surprise, the anxiety was even worse this time than it was at any point working on the first book. After all, just because our editor loved the first book, there was no guarantee he would love the second. He was at perfect liberty to tell us he hated Buk Tu, that we would have to scrap it from top to bottom, or just reject it outright (his being the first right of refusal). I knew it was unlikely–our editor and his wife are among the kindest people I know, and though our editor is always firm in his suggestions and even firmer with his edits, he would never be harsh in speaking with us. Still, I was mildly anxious about the conversation.

In spite of my apprehension, the evening went even better than I could have hoped. It was not all roses and accolades. Nor would I want it to be. Though our editor enjoyed the book and had many praises to offer, the conference call quickly became a discussion of how to strengthen the book’s weaknesses, which is exactly what we needed. This is the best and worst part of a good editor–they love the books, and invest in them. But they don’t let authors off the hook easily. An editor helps the book become not only good, but helps it meet its potential for greatness. And our editor didn’t just hand down suggestions–we had a true discussion, talking through the issues and bouncing around ideas until we lit upon answers as a team.

It’s still kind of strange to have other people as invested in my story as I am. It’s still kind of strange to talk about our characters, creations of my mind and Sam’s–discussing their motivations, their reasoning, their maturity and growth–like they are real people. It’s strange to talk about them, but these people also care about the characters. It’s a wonderful kind of strange.

The long and the short of it is this: we had a fantastic discussion tonight about Buk Tu revisions. We have a lot of work to do, but I feel like the sequel is headed in the right direction. I am excited to jump back in, get writing, and meet this book’s potential for greatness.

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About vmech
Writer, Taekwondo instructor, and adoption advocate. Author of THE TALE OF TELSHARU and THE SCOURGE OF NARAK.

One Response to Talking to my Editor is both fantastic and terrifying

  1. Joy Stubbs says:

    Valerie, thank you for letting me share in this process! I just want you to know that I admire you as an author and as a person and I feel privileged to be associated with you :o) I’m so grateful that you are willing to take the risk to share your work with others! You are a gifted writer, but no one else would ever know that unless you were willing to share your talent! It takes a lot of courage to place yourself in such a vulnerable position—which you’ve demonstrated admirably—PLUS, you’ve handled it with great poise, graciousness and humility. Thank you for your wonderful example :o)

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