Friday, July 23, 2010

What’s up with the edit, yo?

It’s time to check in. I’m not quite a week in to my two-week deadline. Am I on track? Not really. I’m going a bit slower than I would prefer. I’ve pushed through where I was stuck, at least. That’s something. And I do have an entire weekend ahead of me in which I haven’t scheduled anything.

Fingers crossed that on Monday I’ll be closer to ‘on track’ than I am today.

Now that I’m in the third (of assumed five) run-through of this edit I’m noticing terrible stuff. Like:

The passive language! The telling! And “What?! Where did that come from? That doesn’t make sense!” It’s killing me!

Terribly embarrassing. More so because I sent this crap to Mark. Hahaha. Poor guy. He was probably scratching his head.

In all fairness, when I sent it I made it clear that it was in a sorry/pathetic state and I needed help figuring out where the book was. Because it was there somewhere.

Everyone does this writing gig a bit different. The basic rule of thumb is: Do what works for you.

I read it multiple times before I send it to him because that continuous-pass thing, where you ship off your MS to your agent and then you keep up that dance, back-and-forth for what seems like forever (10 plus drafts, or chapter-by-chapter, or whatever) – Yeah, that doesn’t work for me. I can see how it works for other people. For me, it breaks me down (and not in a good way). Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt.

Which is why I’m fascinated by this thread on Verla Kay about editorial agents.

It reminded me how much I love Mark. Is he an editorial agent? Is the sky blue? Is sushi the best food ever? The answer to all three of those questions is yes. He is an amazing, insightful, helpful and extremely encouraging editorial agent. He sees things that blow my mind.

But if someone asked me: how does your relationship with him work? I hesitate to answer only because, what our relationship is will never reflect anyone else’s. No two writer/agent relationships are the same.

Having an editorial agent doesn't make your manuscript necessarily better either. Like I said, it's what works for you. I have published friends who thrive under little to no feedback, but when confronted with an agent who simply asks questions, they shut down entirely.

That's why I found the thread so interesting. I took away that the majority of the commentors (at least those who weren't agented) thought it was better to only sub to those agents who were known to be hands-on editors. To which I ask: huh?

I don't get it. By doing that you may miss out on connecting with someone who really gets you and your work. All because you're staking your career on someone's reported agency style? You don't have a clue if you'll click with them. Or if that's the kind of relationship you'll eventually develop with that agent.

My advice: query widely. Don't set your heart on your "dream agent" because someone on the Internet said they were great. They might be the best agent on the planet, but that does not equate to being the best agent for you.

Anyway, back to the grind. This book won’t edit itself.

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