At the weekend, I got my manuscript back from my publisher. I was nervous as I opened the attachment.
Over the last few months, my ms has been in their hands. I have had little control over something that I originally had total control over. I controlled the characters, the plot and the language. Seeing what someone else would do to it when out of my hands made me nervous.
I wonder why that is?
Maybe it is because it feels so much like a baby – a part of me, that I have feed and seen grow.
As a writer, it is what I put down that affects the readers imagination. What I write will influence the readers opinion of a character, whether that is through a direct message or one that is more hidden. I could change how they feel in a few simple words or a turn of events. That power is quite a dizzying thing.
As I proof read through my ms, I am made aware that there are times when what I have written has been accepted, and there are times where another person has altered it. Because I have been working on the second book I have been able to approach my ms with fresh eyes, but I still don’t always agree. There are some things that I have written that have a deeper meaning … but because the editor doesn’t know, has cut through and altered the wording. I have to approach those parts with wisdom and not emotion.
As humans, we have an inbuilt resistance to being told what to do, yet when boundaries are put in place we feel more secure and cared for.
Good editors know what they are doing, they want your work to be the best it can be. Being resistant and controlling will not help your book be better. The boundaries that have been put in place, be it word count and book length, or cutting over descriptive language or prose, have made my book more readable.
It is still my work … but not a baby any more.
It is good for me to know that I am still learning! Giving control to someone else who knows what they are doing may not be easy, but can definitely be a good thing.