I’m doing a series of blog posts chatting about the publishing process. Today, I want to share how I tackled my editorial letter. As I mentioned here in this post, editorial letters are all different in some way, but essentially they have the writer revamping core areas of weaknesses in their manuscript. This might send a writer into some serious panicking, weeping, or maybe even a complete nervous breakdown.
Okay, so maybe that’s a slight exaggeration.
Possible areas might include:
- Plot structure
- World Building
- Weaving in subplots or taking them out
- Solidifying voice
- Even major plot restructuring
For me, the areas I needed to focus on were characterization and solidifying world building- specifically how the magic works in my book.
1. First it’s important to go for a long run. Or maybe eat lots of chocolate and ice cream. 🙂
2. Then I got to business. I categorized each area that my edit letter focused on and color coded it. Like this:
- Plot structure- blue
- Characterization- yellow
- World Building- green
- Weaving in subplots or taking them out- red
- Solidifying voice- purple
3. Next, I highlighted the areas with these colors in my edit letter.
4. After my colored representation was finished, I put the general ideas into columns which looked something like this:
Solidify Hameosu’s powers
Explain how shape-shifting works
|Create a greater connection between Marc and Jae||
Develop Dad’s relationship with Jae
Flesh out Michelle’s role in 2nd half of the novel
5. Once I had everything compartmentalized, I dealt with each category one at a time.
I started with world building, and chapter by chapter using the comment feature, wrote myself notes of things to deal with in each chapter and ideas of how to fix those.
6. After the plan was in place, I could start writing new scenes, delete sections and rewrite other parts.
Photo Credit: i-write-my-thoughts
The key to remember is that each change creates a domino effect. Every subsequent sentence thereafter has to be checked and made sure it fits with the changes. And don’t forget all the typos that love to creep in during those revisions!
7. Finally, you need to give yourself plenty of time to think and imagine.
Daydreaming allows you to think outside of the box. When I came to an area that I knew needed changing or adding, I would make a list of at least three ways of how I could change that scene. Then I choose my favorite. Just be careful that it’s the best way to make that scene change, not the easiest way. Slapping on a Band-Aid isn’t going to help you book.
It’s important to go into this whole process with an open mind and a willingness to change anything. Because if you don’t have that freedom, it can hinder your end goal. In fact, I believe the real magic in revising your manuscript at in this stage is seeing the world and characters you’ve created in a whole new light.
Next week, I will be interviewing an assistant editor on her thoughts on how she writes her editorial letters.
I’d love to hear any questions as well as thoughts or tips you have on plowing your way through an editorial letter!