by Robin Caroll
It’s the same for me every single time I turn
in a manuscript. I hover at my computer, checking email every 3 minutes for a
note from my editor. Doesn’t matter if it’s an editor I’ve worked with several
times or a new one. Doesn’t matter if it’s a publishing house I’ve partnered
for several books with or if it’s my first with them. I’m literally waiting
with baited breath for editorial feedback.
And when it finally comes, I have the same
sensations as I always do: excitement to see how the first person besides me
feels after interacting with my characters; dread to maybe confirmation I’m a
hack; and energized to make my book the best it can be.
Even after close to 30 books, I still manage
to go through the same emotions…and then the same steps to deal with all of
When I get my edited manuscript back, I scan through it and read all the
comments quickly. Then I let myself vent. Usually to my husband.
“What does she mean this phrasing is
awkward?” and “The pacing isn’t off in this scene!” and “How can she not see
the hero’s motivation? It’s so obvious!” are all things I have vented. Just a
few of the many. And my husband, being the good man that he is, nods his head,
hugs me, then takes me out to dinner. Which also helps move into the next step…
Take a Day Away From the Manuscript
Since the family and I go out to eat, it’s easy enough not to go right back to
the file when I get back. I force myself to ignore the manuscript (and revision
notes) for 24 hours to let my subconscious work through what I read.
When I return the next day, the comments make
a lot more sense than they did the previous day. For some reason, the first
read of edits usually feel like personal attacks. After that, they feel more
like good insight and suggestions.
Remember We’re Partners to Make the Book
the Best Possible
When it’s time to start revising, it helps me to remember that my editor and I
are working together to put out the best version of my story as there can be. If
I’m unsure of her comments, I ask. I’d rather be clear on what I need to do. It’s
my editor’s job to tear apart my manuscript like the pickiest critic ever and
find every nitpicking detail anyone could even think about causing a pause in
the reader’s experience. It’s my job to polish until it shines. How to do that?
Here are my tips:
Complete the easy stuff first. Word choices. Active vs passive. The little
things the editor pointed out that I can fix in less than a minute. Once I get
those done, I always feel so productive.
precious “babies” have issues I need to fix. After the simple stuff, I work on
the character issues the editor has pointed out. I created these people, so I
should be able to step into their skin and smooth out roughness that the editor
pointed out. Which finally leads to…
easy stuff is completed and then the characters are shining, I move on to the
last stage: plot issues the editor has found. Sometimes that means stripping
apart my timeline and rebuilding. Sometimes I need to weave in more, or
sometimes cut. A lot.
When revisions are all said and done, I
usually take a day to let the story “rest.” The next day, I read it through,
making any final changes before saving and sending. But once it’s done and
gone, I move on. Because, after all, I’ll be getting line edits soon!
learned that the harder I work on a book, the more satisfying to hold the final
product in my hands. Every time I work with an editor, I learn and grow as a
writer. Hopefully, my craft improves from each editor’s insights. And it’s time
to start on the next book, as deadlines loom!
Gallagher must battle the forces of nature on a daily basis. When sabotage
becomes apparent on a weekend rafting trip, Katie must determine who she can
trust—and who has their own agenda.
business adventure trip on the Gauley River, a mission that didn’t include a
spunky guide who could handle the class-five rapids better than he’d ever
imagined. But can she handle the truth?
is a southerner through and through. Her passion has always been to tell
stories to entertain others. Robin’s mother, bless her heart, is a genealogist
who instilled in Robin the deep love of family and pride of heritage–two
aspects Robin weaves into each of her 25 published novels. When she isn’t
writing, Robin spends time with her husband of twenty-five+ years, her three
beautiful daughters and two handsome grandsons–in the South, where else? She
serves the writing community by serving as Executive/Conference Director for
ACFW. Her books have finaled/placed in such contests as the Carol Award, Holt
Medallion, RT Reviewer’s Choice Award, Bookseller’s Best, and Book of the Year.