Being an Editor is like telling a parent that their child is ugly. Then going through in detail, pointing out in every way the child is ugly, to show them!
Even if I had the skills to be an editor I would never want that job. It has to be the most thankless job in the entire world. If the book is awesome the author gets all the credit! Nobody finishes a great book and looks to see who the editor was!
From a business standpoint I have seen time and again where an expert would come into a business, or an accountant, or maybe an consultant and tell a business owner what the current malfunctions in the business are, and the owners ego or ignorance, and in many cases both will cause the owner to totally ignore the advice or suggestions and continue driving the business into the ground.
As a writer, from time to time we have to try new things in order to grow. Sometimes these new things will work and other times they will not. For me recently the new thing was trying to write a book that I thought others would like. I had stopped writing what I enjoy and tried to please a target audience instead of myself. Thank God for my Editor!
With the first Chapter it was suggested to throw the whole thing out! The first chapter not the entire book, thankfully. As you will find out if you’re a writer that when you start deleting wholesale style, it changes everything. So it doesn’t matter that I was between 30 – 50 thousand words to the end of the book, with throwing out the whole first chapter I would essentially be re-writing the book before I had finished it.
Now this is the hard part for the writer, to trust and listen to your editor! I sat back as unemotionally and detached as I could get and re-read the first chapter, and it was boring! The second chapter wasn’t any better. Hell, the book didn’t really start getting interesting until well past half way. My editor, through her honesty just saved me from finishing and worse yet publishing the book that might have been the end of my career before it even started.
Yes, I get to start over! The story was not the problem, or we would be scrapping the entire book all together. I get a Mulligan! For the non-golfer’s, that’s a do over! Now I could be upset and depressed that I have to start all over, but see, I LOVE TO WRITE!
I was hung up the day after I submitted the new first chapter which was much better! I was hung up because I was stuck thinking how am I going to tell this story the way I had if it’s boring! That’s was the hang-up! I had to let it go, everything I had written before on the first draft had to go!
When I realized this, I was completely free to write the book I would love to read, to go back to what I do best, everything unlocked and I couldn’t type it out fast enough. I will be back to where I was in no time but with an awesome sequel which will put the first book to shame.
Trust your editor. Write the book you would want to read. If it isn’t giving you freaking goose bumps writing it you’re probably just wasting your time! When your editor tells you your kid is ugly, smile and get ready to give the kid a makeover, or get a new kid altogether. We writers should love our editors for making us look so freaking talented and professional!