What happens after the publisher says yes

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Pamela Jo

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Wexford, Ireland
From someone who already has published 3 books-what happens when she receives her structural notes back and sees what she has to to rewrite AGAIN.











@philippa_east


The #EditLetter — a So…I’ve just received the letter from my editor for my fourth psychological suspense novel (due out early 2024). I thought I’d write a thread with a blow by blow account of this part of the writing process, to motivate myself & share some insights! 1/


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My lovely editor starts off with some enthusiastic praise, using words like “complex“, “intriguing“, “ambitious“, “brimming with potential“ and “set to be your best book yet”. As a psychologist, I know all about the “shit sandwich“, but trust me, it really does help! 2/


She follows this up with fifteen pages of suggested improvements I very very quickly skimmed them yesterday to get a sense of the overall gist. Today I am armed with pen & pencil for my proper first pass through her notes. Back soon to let you know how I get on #EditLetter 3/




Okay, so I am now 5 pages in on my 15-page #EditLetter. Need a breather. Everything my editor has said so far makes sense, and she has some really good ideas. There are a few things I’m not sure yet how to make work at a practical level, but I’m not focusing on that for now. 4/



So far, her suggestions include: Some big changes to the plot Changing one POV from past to present tense Reorganising the order of a whole bunch of chapters Deepening character development They don’t call these “structural” edits for nowt.



She’s made specific suggestions of *how* I might fix some issues, which I always find helpful, since it makes me feel less like it’s all on me to generate solutions. I might not end up using her exact idea, but at least I have a foundation to work from.
As I read through her edit letter, I’m making my own notes and squiggles on the pages, to help me coral my thoughts as I go. This helps me get to grips with the specifics of what my editor is getting at, so I’m getting my own overview in my head of what’s required




At this point of my read through, I’m really tempted to stop (even though I’ve only been at it 15 minutes ). It’s a lot to take in… plus, I want to get out while the going feels good. BUT with your encouragement, I’ll aim to push forwards! Back soon… 8/


Okay, I’ve managed another 4 1/2 pages (5 1/2 more to go!) and I need another breather. These notes have particularly focused on the characters in the novel: the balance between my cast members, and which narratives need to come forward more, and which need to recede

Everything is still making sense & I can see how this rebalancing will really help I think some issues are actually “hangovers“ from earlier drafts. My editors suggestions are helping me move the story towards what I was ultimately envisaging - exactly what I want.
Will I manage the last five pages without crying?? Back soon to let you know the outcome…

  • Yes, you got this!
    75%

  • Nah, nae chance


    ..Aaaaaand — I’ve made it to the end of my #EditLetter. And my eyes are DRY! These last pages were picking up an aspect of the plot which is really key, but which I had sort of “fudged” all the way through because it never quite got clear in my brain. But! 12/
  • Now will be the time to dig deep and sort it out clearly, along with all the other edits my editor has suggested. I’m going to step back over the next couple of days and percolate, then probably return to it this weekend to read again and start planning the actual edits. 13/


    (THat word Fudged. That I recognise. Might as well do the thing before I submit than get told after.)



    Despite the length of the letter, these actually feel like the “easiest” structural edits I’ve had to date, since I can see clearly how I’ll make the changes, and — unlike to ALL my previous books — it doesn’t involve a total page-one rewrite 14/


    https://twitter.com/philippa_east/status/1630960214970179585/analytics



    https://twitter.com/philippa_east


    I may still cry when I sit down to actually make the changes but for now I feel I’ve got through the #EditLetter unscathed Good luck to everyone else working on edits & HUGE thanks to my editor Cicely for being so brilliant! 15/15
 
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