Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Joy of Editing a Brilliant Writer

Last year, my publisher asked me if I would consider taking on a few editing assignments. Well, sure, why not? And lucky me landed one that is probably the easiest editing that could have come my way.

This manuscript was a rewrite and resubmit. It originally was over 100,000 words, with a story line that should have been YA but veered into adult territory. The acquisitions editor wanted to know if the author would rewrite and resubmit it as a YA adventure and get it below 100,000, the ideal being 80,000. The author was willing and eager to do so.

The resubmitted manuscript got passed around and approved, and I was so excited to get to be the editor! It's a fantastic story. I want to talk about it but I can't. I've been editing this week and really getting into this story. He's done an incredible job with his second rewrites. It's down to 80,000 words, the narrative goes at a fast, exciting pace and I just can't wait to see this in a book!

The author lives on the East Coast, so who knows if I'll ever get to meet him. But he's a super-talented guy who deserves every success with his writing career!

36 comments:

  1. Keep us posted when the novel is available. :-)

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  2. What a cool opportunity! It must be great knowing you had a hand in the book. Like Mary McDonald, I want to know when the book comes out as well.

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  3. How exciting. What a wonderful feeling for both of you :o)

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  4. That's cool you got to be part of the process!

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  5. Must be nice to be getting a different perspective!

    PS, after reading your previous post on Crush It, I have to say that blogging about how lovely and talented ANOTHER writer is doesn't sound like 'crushing it' to me!

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  6. SF, Guess I just don't have it in me to crush anything but garlic cloves.

    Alex & Niki, Yes I'll be pretty excited to see the finished product.

    Theresa and Mary, I will! And if I could tell you what the story was about, you would be even more excited to read it.

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  7. How great to be able to help out other authors like that (and get to read some great stuff, too!) Cool. :)

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  8. how exciting!

    it must be so fun to edit something you truly like!

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  9. In your experience and opinion, Karen, is 80,000 words a good guide for YA?

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  10. Wow!

    I wish this new writer every success with this book! What a discovery - wonderful.

    Take care
    x

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  11. Do tell us the name of the book when you can, Karen, it sounds like a brilliant read!

    Donna, I think 70-80,000 words is usual enough for YA, but that's just based on query letters for published YA novels that I've seen on agent blogs. And they of course refer to the draft sent to the agent, not the draft sent to editors, so who knows how long they ended up. . .?

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  12. kareng - i don't mean to hog your comments section but i saw someone upthread wondering about YA wordcount.

    just wanted to pass on this website:
    http://www.renlearn.com/store/quiz_home.asp#quicksearch

    you can type in the name of a YA book and it will give you the word count.
    careful - it is addicting, haha!

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  13. How cool that you got to edit it?! You usually hear that finding a story like that makes agent/editor's jobs worth it to them and here you get to experience the best part of their job without the other stuff. Can't wait to hear more about the book.

    In other news, you have an award over at my blog! :o)

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  14. It's the lucky writer who has you as an editor, Karen! How nice to work with someone to help make their book better. Glad you're enjoying it!

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  15. I'm sure it is rewarding to have a hand in helping a fledgling writer become a published author. Depending on the genre, I may be interested in reading the book. I look forward to learning more about it. All the best.

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  16. I think you are a very lucky lady to be able to both write your own books and edit the works of others you admire and appreciate. I always wondered how difficult it might be to be an editor and edit something you don't enjoy reading. I would have a hard time editing horror novels, for example.
    Karen

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  17. Regarding the word count of YA, I would recommend a first novel being around 80-95,000 words unedited, with the idea that editing will bring it closer to 80k. If you're a proven author with a series going on, then you're allowed more flexibility in length. Anyway, those are the guidelines from my publisher.

    This particular manuscript came in too long for YA. However YA is where the acquisitions editor saw it fitting and she hoped he'd be willing to rewrite and resubmit. She also observed how quickly and graciously the author responded and how effectively he managed rewriting. He proved himself to have the personal, communication and writing skills that makes a new author appealing to a publisher.

    I do feel lucky that I'm the one who got him!

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  18. What a cool opportunity and it's great seeing you so excited about it :) Now I can't wait to hear about this book!

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  19. Thanks for stopping by Ink Spells!

    I'm glad you found me, so I could find you! I think editing a story you are in love with must be tremendous fun. I think sometimes writers don't realize that everyone in this industry, from agents to publishers to writers, is in love with stories, and enjoys the process of bringing one to publication. :)

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  20. p.s. I love the quote about aiming too low!

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  21. How exciting! I think I would like that job too. The hard part would be telling people you're not interested. How fun to be a part of the birth of a new story!

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  22. Jaydee, As soon as I get the go ahead, I'll post about it here. I don't think the author has a blog or website yet.

    Susan, So glad you dropped by, and yes to your comment about everyone in the industry being in love with stories.

    Melissa, WiDo's acquisitions/submissions editor hates that part, having to do rejections.

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  23. I can't wait 'til you can tell us more! How exciting!

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  24. How exciting! It must be a great feeling to read something so well written - there's hardly any work for you to do!

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  25. Melinda GardinerMay 7, 2010 at 1:03 PM

    For those of us with Christmas-itis, I must say...the suspense of this is killing me! Now I simply MUST know the name of that book. Since I can't peak beneath the wrapping on this one, I guess I'll have to hurry up and wait.

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  26. That must be a lovely feeling, finding a great new read.
    I am looking forward to it being published.

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  27. It's great when work is rewarding like that. Sounds exciting.

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  28. Cool! Let us know when the book comes out.

    Jai

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  29. Thanks for stopping by and following.

    This was quite a post to land on first time: editing someone else's book must have been quite a responsibility.

    The first person to read the work - a special feeling.

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  30. Keep us posted!

    PS. I've left you a little something in my blog :)

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  31. How exciting! Although I generally don't read YA, I'd certainly be interesting in buying the book and giving it a read. Anything to support a new author. :)

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  32. Wow, now that is exciting news. You'll have to tell us the scoop when you can!

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  33. Terry, this isn't your typical YA. I think men will enjoy it in general.

    Julie, I need to find out what the author is doing on a blog, cuz I don't want to scoop him!

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  34. Sounds like a really good read. And to read a book raw, and then help and follow it's progress to publishable must be very exciting.
    Thanks for the follow on my blog, too!

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  35. Really exciting! And to be a part of the process, there when the 'baby' is born, awesome! Let us know when the book's out...I'm now YA but like Terry, I'd buy the book to support a new author.

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  36. It is great to read such enthusiasm. How lovely you are part of the journey this author is going to have.

    You will have to keep us updated with the progress.

    Happy Scribbling.

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