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Dianne Salerni : Writer of Teen and Middle Grade Fiction | Editorial Notes!

Editorial Notes!

So, my editorial notes for THE CAGED GRAVES arrived yesterday while I was on my lunch break.

It’s not the first time I’ve received editorial notes — I had them from Sourcebooks when we were working on WE HEAR THE DEAD and I get them from my agent Sara, too, when I submit a new manuscript to her. But these are notes from my new editor at Clarion, and it’s my first time working with her.

I admit, when I see the email in my in-box, the first thing I do is glance at the stack of brown paper bags on my desk, the ones my students are going to use for their Valentine’s Day card exchange.  Am I going to need one? You know, to breathe into, in case I hyperventilate?

Opening an email like this is scary. What will I have to do? What will I have to change? Am I capable of making it as good as it needs to be? A whole lifetime of self-doubt flashes before my eyes before I click it open.

I scan. Then I start over and skim. (Taking it in small glimpses seemed a good idea at the time.) Then I read it.  At some point, I push the brown paper bags aside and reach for my lunch, because I’m not hyperventilating and I’m not passing out — and I can do this.

Will I have to kill some darlings? Yes. All of them? No! This isn’t the final scene of Hamlet, with nothing but corpses littering the stage.  This is metamorphosis. This is clarity and focus. There will be changes, but most of the things I love aren’t going anywhere and there may well be new darlings born out of revisions.

Is it going to be awesome? I think so.  I’m sure gonna try.
Can’t wait to get started.

16 Responses to Editorial Notes!

  1. Sarah says:

    HOORAY!!! I am so happy for you, Dianne! I know you’ve been eagerly anticipating these notes, and I’m sure it feels good, if daunting, to get back into this project again. I’m currently anticipating editorial notes for three different projects at various stages (line edits from an editor for one, first round editorial from an editor for another, and first round editorial from my agent for a third) and wondering which will arrive first! Good luck with yours!

  2. You can do it, Dianne.

    Just put a stiff drink in one hand, and a red pen in the other.


  3. YAY!!! How awesome and exciting!! Haha, love your hyperventilation bag, but so glad you didn’t need it 🙂

  4. happy day! Now the work begins! Way to go, Dianne. Love your attitude as you start this round. I’m also expecting this email any day from my new editor. I’m sure I’ll be skimming, and scanning as well. And then I hope I don’t need to borrow your bag.

  5. Linda G. says:

    Yay! You CAN do it!

    It IS terrifying getting those emails, I know. But I actually love editing. Tweaking and polishing are my favorite parts of writing. Have fun! 🙂

  6. I’m glad you didn’t need to breathe into one of those bags. (Mighta scared your students.) You can do this!!!! I’m looking forward to reading the finished product.

  7. I had good betas who suggested hard revisions for me. It’s because of them I know I’ll be able to handle anything and editor or agent will want to throw my way.

    You can do it!

  8. No paper bag necessary! You can dooooo it. Have fun with the revisions 🙂

  9. Yes, I find it’s best to dive right in, like jumping into an icy-cool pool, then just start flailing about to get warmed up…hee. Just fix one thing at a time…you can do it!

  10. Or the opposite method to jumping right in is taking little sips…preferably with a glass of wine at hand. That’s the way I do it because most of the time I find editor’s are right. I just need time and patience for their critique to sink in.

  11. mshatch says:

    what Sarah said 🙂

  12. JEM says:

    Good luck! And while I like feedback because it gives me something to DO, I have the exact same fear that I won’t be able to reach my potential with a story. That the changes will be outside of my realm of expertise as a writer. I’m not worried about that with you, though :). I’m excited for Caged Graves!

  13. Small glimpses, I bet!
    I’m sure it’ll be awesome!

  14. DL Hammons says:

    Even though you don’t seemed worried…it looks scary to me. Having to alter your vision of what you thought the book should be. GULP!!

  15. Lenny Lee* says:

    hi miss dianne! you just made me feel real good. im thinking what you said could be just way true for lots of stuff in our life. im just happy you didnt need to use that bag. for sure youre gonna do all the stuff you need to so you could have a super duper book.
    …hugs from lenny

  16. Yay, no paper bag needed! : )