Swoon Author Danielle Banas' Editing Update: An Actual Emotional Rollercoaster
This was my family and friends when I told them I had received my first edit letter:
“What?” they said, dumbfounded. “You need to edit this thing now? But... but you already wrote it! What else is there to do?!”
HA! The amount of times I heard that was astronomical. And each time was very, very wrong.
Turns out there was quite a lot I needed to do. And then do it again. Because that's kinda how this “editing” thing works. And so here's the cold, hard truth. Ready?
Editing is like Disney World.
(If you’re confused, just bear with me for a moment and know that I can make a Disney comparison out of almost anything.)
Editing is like Disney World, but it's not always the happy, slightly-less-crowded-than-usual, I-got-Fast-Pass-on-all-my-favorite-rides, it-didn't-rain-once-during-our-trip Disney World. Sometimes editing is hot, humid, strollers everywhere, lines-two-hours-long Disney World.
More specifically, editing is like the time I dragged my dad on Expedition Everest in Animal Kingdom. Basically, he didn't want to go, but he didn't want to make me ride alone either. Everything was going dandy until the roller coaster started moving backwards. Downhill. In the dark. I loved it, but when it was over, he looked like he just saw all 999 ghosts that frolic throughout the Haunted Mansion ride. Safe to say he wasn't a fan.
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That’s editing. Sometimes during the process I was so excited because I was taking this story that I love and have worked on for years, and I was molding it into something even better, something that I would hopefully love even more. (And I do love it more! I really do!) And then other times I was like my dad on Expedition Everest, staring unblinking at my computer screen with my hair sticking up every which way, thinking, “This. Is. Not. Fun. Nothing makes sense! Every word of this is crap, and the world is going to explode!”
Okay. Maybe I exaggerated about the exploding part. Or maybe not.
I don't want to sugarcoat it. I was pretty nervous about editing this book. I wrote the first draft of The Supervillain and Me in 2014, during my senior year of college, and other than fixing typos and changing some wonky worded sentences, not much had changed between the first draft and the draft I submitted to Swoon Reads. Then, two and a half years later, I found myself having to reorder scenes, add scenes, delete scenes, change character motives, and… I had to make it all make sense. It was like ripping apart a puzzle and then realizing you lost a piece. (And then finding the piece hidden face down under a chair; the missing puzzle piece is always hidden under a chair.) It's being told, “I love this! But... you need to work on it some more.”
It was one of the most daunting things I’ve ever done.
But it was also one of the amazing things I’ve ever done, too.
Full credit for all that amazingness goes to my editor, Emily. I quite literally could not have done this without her. All of her notes were incredibly positive and were always intended to make the book even stronger. Yes, editing a manuscript can be scary, but Emily’s edit letters gave me the confidence that, not only could I do it, but I could make this book tighter, funnier, and overall better than it was before. And I’m confident that we did it!
So if you’re reading this and you’re feeling apprehensive about jumping into the editing process, don’t be afraid! You’ll grow as a writer and as a person because of it. I promise!