dragon coverI’ve been working with an editor on my Dragons manuscript, in the hopes that I will finally get it to a place where someone (preferably the house this lady is with) wants to publish it. I’ve gone back and forth with her several times, making some major changes, and with each round of edits, it gets a little better, but there was still something missing.

Back a few years ago when I had an agent, I also did many many rounds of revisions, but back then, I couldn’t see that the changes she wanted me to make were really improving my story in any way. I felt like she didn’t understand my writing style or, really, the speculative genre in general or the way this type of story often plays out. Everything I changed took me further away from what I was going for, until I felt like my story was a shell of what it was supposed to be, remade in that agent’s image.

That’s not what is happening this time around. I feel like this editor understands me, understands my story, understands the genre, and understands where I’m going with this. Each change, from minor plot holes and character motivations to major plot revisions, has made it better. I can see how it’s shaping up and becoming better than what I originally wrote.

Well, after going back and forth several times and thinking about it and discussing it, we think we’ve finally hit on the elusive “it” that the story is missing, the thing that will take it to the next level and make it a really phenomenal story. It will involve some pretty major changes to accomplish what I need to accomplish. And, while I agree that this is what the story needs and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to make this story into its most awesome form, I can’t help but feel disheartened.

I’ve poured so many years, so much blood, sweat, and tears, into this manuscript, that to see this huge obstacle in the way makes me want to give up. We’re not talking a little tweak, we’re talking a major change that needs to happen. And I know it needs to happen. And I do want this book to be as good as it can be. That’s why I’ve held out this long, waiting for the right publisher instead of self-publishing or giving up, because I believe in this story but I know I can’t do it on my own. I can’t see it. I can’t figure out “it” by myself, and so I know I need the input of other professionals. And I don’t disagree that I need to make these major changes.

But I still want to curl up in a ball and cry. Because I have poured so much of myself into this, only to have it be not good enough still. Because I know what to do, but not how to do it. Because it feels like it will never be ready. Because I’ve worked so hard and I’m exhausted. And because I’ve come too far to give up now.

And don’t get me wrong, I’m in no way frustrated at this editor. Quite the opposite. I’m extremely honored and grateful that she’s willing to put this much effort into my manuscript. She wouldn’t spend this much time on it if she didn’t believe in the story, believe in my writing, and believe in me enough to think this is worth her time. She has been amazing, and I am extremely grateful to her. I’m just struggling to get past this next obstacle. I’m ready to be done.

And so, here I go again. Brainstorming. Working through plot issues. Figuring out what needs to be done and how to make it work. Pushing through the frustration and overwhelming amount of work that yet needs doing, and getting to the actual doing of it.

Wish me luck, because when I finish–and I will finish–this is going to be an amazing book.

About Avily Jerome

Avily Jerome is a writer and the editor of Havok Magazine. Her short stories have been published in various magazines, both print and digital. She has judged several writing contests and is a writing conference teacher and presenter. She writes speculative fiction, her ideas ranging from almost-real-world action/adventures to epic fantasies to supernatural thrillers.

12 comments on “Editing…Again

  1. I know how you feel, wanting to be done. To move on. But also to see what needs tweaking and be determined to make it happen, because it will make the story the best it can be.

    Keep at it, sister in the faith! Writers editing their stories, unite (individually in our own homes, of course)! 😉

  2. It is so difficult when you’ve got a story that needs to emerge, and that you KNOW is good enough to make it, but you are still trying to coax it into what it should be. I’m going through a bit of that myself right now. Keep soldiering on, and keep the faith that your story is one that should be told! 🙂

  3. Writing is my passion, I love it, but I detest revisions. They are a necessary evil, I can’t imagine being that far, polishing that much, then having a huge rewrite…that would weigh my heart down too, but you’ve come this far, you are in the home stretch. I bet is going to be an awesome story, I can’t wait to read it! Plus you are going to have a great story to tell at all your book signing!

  4. Avily first of all the two comments above are not for you. Some technical bizarre goof was made somewhere. In texting John the messages above they ended up here. It seems impossible to consider given I wasn’t on NAF at all.
    Having said that, I felt your exhaustion, exasperation, and not knowing how or what or when to do what is needed. It felt like a mini tornado coming through and I felt bad for you. I know in the end the right thing will be. But what a process to go through. I also wondered as I am only learning, what is the needful difference between professional editing and self editing? Just monetary? Well Just might be strong. I meant I know a writer or more than one who have self published so I wondered the reason for one over the other. Either way, best of luck to you. I can’t imagine the stress and fatigue along with husband children and whatever else gets chucked into the mess.
    I am sure you will do well. Just breathe and step back for a moment and let the creative energy speak to you. It will.
    And good luck- Yisraela

    • I don’t see the other comments, so it must have worked itself out. 🙂

      Professional editing is something most writers need at some point, whether they pay an editor or whether they receive editing through a publishing house they sign with. Self-editing only goes so far. You can catch some mistakes, but you get to a point where you’ve read your words and you’re so attached to your story you can’t really look at it objectively. Especially if you’re self-publishing, it’s a good idea to hire an editor, because they will catch things you can’t on your own, and even a critique partner might not see, simply because they have so much more experience. Many self-published authors skip the editorial step, and it really shows in an unpolished final product.

      • Ah makes sense. I am trying to learn all these things. John and I are working well he is waiting on me to create more of what I want my character to be for our story line. So all this helps.
        Thanks Avily and best wishes

  5. The above image of the Dragon…is that your cover? What a truly formidable frightening dragon! Is that your design?

    • It is not my design. I would love to be that talented of an artist. 🙂 A friend who used to be a member of NAF found it for me and I’ve been using it, but it is not mine.

      • Oh thank you for letting me know that. John and I have a author friend who was or still is a graphics designer. Her work is breathtaking. I wondered if you had had someone make this based on an idea you had or you designed it being in graphic art. It does send a message and it made me feel your book will be as powerful as the graphic.

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