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.