Finally, I’ve signed the contract on Surviving Zahra and posted it. It should reach my publisher in about a week and then we can start on the editing, insha’Allah.
I’m really excited to be into the next phase in the process, but I have to be honest. The editing part is freaking me out. I’ve never had anyone dissect my work or make changes it to. Most of my reviews and features in the dailies go in as is. I even had an editor tell me that she loves my work, because she doesn’t need to edit it – she only reads it for the entertainment! 🙂
Much of an ego-booster as that is, you cannot compare 1, 200 words to 80,000 words. There’s bound to be changes in the book and chances are there will be a lot of them, on every page. I remember reading a quote on a writer’s site where this guy said something in the lines of “My editors didn’t change a single word in my manuscript. That word was on page xxx” (Sorry, I can’t remember the number he quoted, but you get the gist, right?)
I guess the hardest part is knowing where to draw the line. I have to be able to accept when the editing is right and makes the story better, but I also have to be confident enough in my writing to stick to my guns when I know my version is better. My only problem is that I usually bounce from one extreme to the other, and I’ll need find a balance.
I guess that means a lot of reading, re-reading, taking deep breaths and then re-re-reading. Luckily, I’ve had a taste of critiques from my beta-readers. And considering that they were not professionals and I had to put up with some very unsavoury comments, I think I’ve thickened my skin a little.
A story is something you take out from deep within you. You colour it with your dreams, mould it to your expectations and put so much of your inner aspirations into it, that it’s inevitable to feel a little defensive when someone attacks it.
The only way to handle the criticism constructively is to distance yourself from your work. I find it helps to ignore the manuscript for a while. I just stopped reading it and editing it so that it became a little vague, like a book I had read by another author. That allowed me to then look at the comments as if they were made for that author. I guess that’s part of the writer’s life, placating your (usually emotional) muse with your logical brain.
Wish me luck! I’ll be posting up publishing dates so y’all can go out and buy the book. Trust me, you’ll love the story, even if I do say so myself 🙂
“In the struggle for truth, the believer is as solid as steel, but in the midst of friends, he is as soft as silk”
– Iqbal (1877 – 1938)