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Although I had to cancel my Zoom meeting with my editor yesterday because of a migraine, I’ve rescheduled for Tuesday of next week. In case you haven’t worked with an editor before (this will be my first time), I thought you might like to know what I’ve done to prepare for our call. Maybe others do this differently, but this is how I’ve prepared.

My editor, Tim Storm from Storm Writing School is remarkably thorough. He’s also funny and kind, pointing out things that need changing in such a way as to make this writer aware of the need for change without making me feel stupid about it. That’s a talent. When he sent me his feedback, he included a detailed editorial letter with his overall assessment, a chapter by chapter summary of each scene along with his editorial notes (so valuable!), and a copy of my manuscript with his comments throughout. It was a lot of information.

UW Writer’s Institute 2014

I got his feedback in January while I was working on my newest project. Of course, I read everything immediately and wanted to trash the whole manuscript. Ha! Not really. But realizing I still needed to do more work on this book(even though I knew I needed to) was sobering. After that I called my good friend and fellow writer, Kristin Oakley, and asked her advice. She also commiserated with me since she’s worked with Tim too. I waited to set up this meeting until after I finished the outline for my current book in February and and had surgery on my foot in March. I figured it wouldn’t be a good idea to try to discuss my book while I was taking pain meds! Since then, I’ve been working through the edits and trying to figure out how to go about the work that needs doing. Here’s what I did to get ready to talk to Tim about his edits.

  1. Read all materials completely without taking notes or stopping to do anything else. I was a little disheartened, of course, but I knew my manuscript needed work. I wouldn’t have hired Tim if I hadn’t known that.
  2. Read the editorial letter and made notes on what big picture items need changing. This was things like putting a scene in another character’s POV, changing the ending, questions about a particular scene, etc.
  3. Read through the chapter notes again. I took notes about what I agreed with, what I thought I needed to clarify, and questions I needed to ask when we talked.
  4. Began working through each chapter of my manuscript. I printed it out, but I found that I needed to work on the computer so I could add comments and make changes. As I read, I changed what I could. I also made comments in the margin using Track Changes if there was something I needed to come back to later. I know I’ll make multiple passes through the manuscript.
  5. Made a chapter by chapter list of questions for Tim. I made a Google doc of all the questions I needed to ask him, probably more than he can answer in our 30 minute time frame. Some chapters were easy, but some chapters are more complicated than others. Sometimes I don’t know how to do what Tim suggested. Help!

I’m looking forward to my call with Tim on Tuesday. It means I’m moving forward with revision again and making this manuscript better. Before I sent it, I was nervous, but after reading his feedback, I see how his suggestions will make my book better than I could possibly have made it on my own. My hope is that I will be proud of this book, FAITH CAN MOVE MOUNTAINS, whether I seek an agent and publish traditionally or self-publish or do something in between. No matter what I do, I know that this, my first novel, will represent my best efforts to date. Can’t wait to hold it in my hands!

If you’ve worked with an editor, let me know if I’m on the “write” track or if I need to do anything else before I talk to Tim!