Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Just say YES!

There is an emotional upheaval that happens when you receive a list of edits from your Beta Reader/Agent/Editor.

First Reaction: No, no way. What is she thinking? I can't make these changes. That will alter the ENTIRE story. Does she even get me and my work? No, just no.

Then you walk away.

And you do something else for a few days. Bake cookies, ride a bike, watch a movie, have game night with friends...anything but writing. And while you're playing Scrabble, those editorial suggestions are brewing in your head. You're pulling apart the pieces of your story, updating names, changing settings and you're seeing how you CAN turn your contemporary romance into an historical romance and write it from your secondary character's POV. Because making edits is problem solving. And my favorite part about writing is solving problems.

So I end up making the changes, and for the most part, when I'm done, I love my manuscript 100 times more. I know this for a fact. So I'd like to say I've found a way to eliminate the grumbling, complaining, swearing phase out of the editing process, but I haven't. I still need that. But what I have done is left myself open to, "yes."

You want me to take the sci-fi element out of my thriller? Sure!
I should cut the love triangle? Why not?
You want me to write this in third person? You know, I was thinking about doing that myself.

No matter what the change is I say, "Yes." Because at least then I'll try it. Sometimes I'll rewrite a few pages in third person and see right away that it isn't working. But I wouldn't have known that if I'd said, "No," right away. I can always go back to the original if I don't like something. That's why everyone uses that annoying track changes feature.

For a writing exercise, give it a shot. Take the most eye-roll inducing, annoying suggestion you've ever gotten on a manuscript and make it. Even if it turns out terribly, it could be good for a laugh.


DRC said...

I find myself in that trap every time. You send something to beta friends knowing it's full of plot holes, something's not working, and it still needs a tone of editing, but you still finding yourself beaming with pride as you press the initial send button, thinking it's perfect and they'll love it just as it is lol...NEVER the case :)

Rachel Menard said...

Right? I always think, "How can they possibly find anything to change?" Wrong. So Wrong.