Reading in these Pages

Posted on 09 September 2010

Red Ink my Words will Bleed. So, I was looking through the manuscript I have on submission to an editor right now. My eyes nearly dropped out of my head. Did I write that? Really? My hand itched to edit, but what good would it do at this juncture? It is already in the editor’s inbox. Granted, I’m not a slush submission in this case, and if I was desperate to make a major change, I might be able to get away with it. After all, I saw said editor at Dragon*Con and he actually approached me and told me that he hadn’t forgotten me, as opposed to me having to poke him. But even if he was cool with me updating the submission, it is just bad form. I think you can see the spiral of doubt and worry. Thus, to try and ease my mind, I stalked Brandon Sanderson and talked to him.

So, at the Raleigh signing, I asked Brandon about the editing on Elantris, his first novel. What he had to say was actually somewhat cheering, as apparently not only did his pages bleed (which they still do, even on The Way of Kings, just not as much as back then), but his editor actually worked with him on major changes, like removing a character. The reason this makes me feel better is because I have had the impression for so long that the first novel you send in needs to be only a mild line edit from published, especially with how the editors talk at panels. I guess it is good to hear that editors, um, edit? Yeah.

The other thing Brandon had to say was heartening too, which was to not worry as much about there being occasional typos or bad word choice in the story. The first few pages are pretty important, but the editors should be expecting some errors naturally in the story. In the end, it is an overall quality of writing and a good story they are seeking out. Granted, this doesn’t mean to slack, but it also means to not sweat bullets when you see one you missed a month after sending something in. Unless it is on the first page and you are slush submitting. Then you are probably boned. But otherwise, cheer up! Right? Of course right.


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