I’ve donned my waterproof boots (perhaps I should be wearing hip waders!) as I slosh my way through the third draft of my middle-grade mystery. My editor is a godsend – she provided me with detailed notes/comments and meets with me after each quadrant so that we can discuss what is amazing (whoohoo!) and what still needs fine tuning and/or clarification (go back and fix that).
My nights and weekends (I work full-time) are dedicated to editing and re-writing the small sections that need smoothing out or a jolt to move the plot forward. I was overwhelmed when I took the stack of notes home after our last session. I felt good about the story and was still basking in the afterglow of having completed the entire draft, start to finish.
“It’s an amazing story,” she told me. Then why does it feel like I have so much to fix? I’m grateful for her explanation, and as I turn the draft page-by-page and read her comments, I understand that we are in the exacting, fine tuning phase of my story. A word here, a comma there, a paragraph to re-write for clarification and ease for the reader.
I’m happy to report that I don’t need a life jacket. We’re past the danger of pitching it overboard and starting over. We’re wading in the shallows, picking here, moving there, and making sure there are no holes or rocks in our firm, sandy foundation.
The story improves with each edit. I’m diving in here and there, but at some point I’ll find a quiet spot and read it start-to-finish, just like my readers will. I’m almost there, and I can almost see the publisher on the dock, waiting for me.