"Let the Editor Fix It"

Yea! Your manuscript is done and ready to start the submissions process.

Well, all but one little part in chapter X, that is. It's not quite right and it's bugging you, but you don't know what to do about it. You've worked and reworked it, taken it out, put it back in, moved it around--nothing helps. Even your mom and your best friend and your cousin who teaches English in high school don't know what to do with it.

So you send it in anyway, hoping the editor will catch it and fix it, because you've tried and you can't. Besides, most editors think they have to change something just to prove they're the boss, right? Even if you submitted a perfect manuscript, they'd change SOMETHING, so if you leave this part as it is, they can change it and feel like they've earned their salary, and maybe they'll leave the rest of your stuff alone.

I know these thoughts run through your head. When on the writing side of the street, I certainly thought them. Even now when I know better, I find myself nodding and laughing in agreement when another author expresses these sentiments.

I understand that you're impatient to get your manuscript out. And I know it's frustrating to keep hitting a brick wall trying to fix problem areas. But I'd like to encourage you to keep trying. Even if it means putting your book away for a few weeks, or even a few months, and coming back to it later. Or, if you're lucky enough to be in a good writers group, have them brainstorm with you. But don't submit yet.

Eventually you will be able to fix the problem. I know you have the ability to fix it by the simple fact that it bothers you; you notice the problem area exists. If it wasn't within your skill level to fix it, you would be blissfully unaware that there was a problem to begin with. Let it rest. Give it time. Work on something else awhile. Then come back to it. Somewhere in the deep recesses of your creativity, there is a solution and you will find it.

And the reality is, if you send the manuscript in with a problem spot, the editor will most likely write "Fix this" in the margin and send it back to you. If there are too many problem spots, they'll just send it back.

And trust me. If I received a perfect manuscript, I would feel no need to change anything just for the sake of changing it. I'd be doing the Snoopy dance and singing the hallelujah chorus because my profit margin just went up!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

LOL. I've been in a writers group for over 5 years, and someone makes that statement about editors almost every other month!