John Ramsey Miller
Just to get everybody up to speed, I’m going through my process as I rewrite and move to publish my latest novel. At this point I am thinking I will probably self-publish as an eBook. That said, I won’t rule out a paperback deal if my agent wants to shop it and a publisher wants to put it out.
Editors always start editorial letters with something like, “I really enjoyed my read of (Name of the novel goes here). There’s a lot to like in the book as well some things I have trouble with.” Translation: Holy Mother of God, what is this steaming pile of crap you sent me?”
Okay, that’s the old insecurity shining through like the warming rays of a neutron bomb.
The editor I am utilizing is as good as any editor I’ve ever worked with and I have worked with the best. Another plus is that her sense of humor is pitch perfect. An example of editorial humor would be a circled sentence with this penciled into the margin… “Please read this over carefully and tell me that this is in English.”
My process is akin to what a blind and starving wolverine that’s been thrown into a henhouse might go through in those first few moments when the wolverine senses the meat, and the chickens become aware of their situation and reach critical mass freak out in a confined space.
I must also say that I am not gifted with organization skills beyond lining up Skittles in neat lines by color and eating them one hue at a time.
First I read the ten-page editorial letter several times to get a general picture of the depth of the stacked-word catastrophe. Next I cleared off my dining table and placed on it my laptop, laser printer, index cards, legal pads, ink and roller ball pens, sharpened Black Warrior pencils, red erasable pen, stick-on notes in yellow, those peel off arrows in six colors, Snickers bars, and roll in my Herman Miller Aeron in Author Black that I bought years back.
The next day my table was a huge disaster, and I was juggling the edited MS, a blank document for rewriting, killing, or combining chapters, and creating new ones from scratch. And there’s the construction document where I will assemble the refined mess. Then I will print that and go back and edit myself before having the editor hit it again to see if I was successful. All of this will take a month to six weeks. And each day when I sit down I have no idea what the session will bring to the pages.
I think initial confusion and wading through the piles is how a pretty good effort sometimes goes on to become a very, very good book. That is what keeps me going at this point. More to follow…