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Swoon Author Jen Wilde's Editing Update: Sit. Your. Butt. Down. – How I Make It Through Edits

Nothing gets my heart pumping in fear like the moment a fresh edit letter arrives in my inbox.

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Okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration.

But still, I’d be lying if I said that editing is my favorite part of the publishing process. When I get an edit letter, I just want to find a DeLorean, get it up to 88mph and skip ahead to the time when the hard work is done. I’m easily overwhelmed, so diving back into a draft I just finished always feels like an insurmountable task.

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Here’s how I handle it…

Make myself a coffee. (I’m gonna need it.)

Read the edit letter. Read it again. And again.

Get excited thinking about how much better the story will be with all these new changes.

But then hyperventilate when I try to figure out how I’m going to make all these new changes.

Make another cup of coffee.

Stare at my laptop for a while. Let the edits sink in. Try not to panic. Watch cute pug gifs or YouTube compilations of Harry Styles being perfect (not hard, TBH.)

Talk to a friend in a Gilmore Girls-style rant about how I don’t think I can pull this off.

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And listen to that friend when they say “You’ve got this.”

Then I sit. My. Butt. Down. Read the edit letter again. Start small. Get it done little by little.

And that’s when the work begins.

In the editing process for Queens of Geek, I had my very own superhero editor, Christine Barcellona, guiding me every step of the way—from excited comments about the characters throughout the manuscript to laying out new timelines and ideas.

Some scenes got cut. Even more were added. Characters were merged. And then there was a whole lot of tweaking and writing and deleting and rewriting some more.

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The more changes I made, and the more edit letter to-do’s I ticked off the list, the more excited I became. I could see the story coming together more beautifully than I could have imagined. I saw all the editing work paying off in ways that made the story that much richer, the characters that much stronger, and the ending that much more swoonworthy (YAY!).

It’s kind of like standing too close to a painting. Your nose is practically pressed up against the canvas and all you can see are the brush strokes. An editor stands from a different vantage point. Not only can they see the whole painting, but they see gaps in it, places where the blank canvas shows through. They tell you where more color can be added to really make it pop. They point out the holes in the corners and suggest ways to patch them up creatively. With their help, your unfinished canvas can become a masterpiece.

There’s nothing quite so amazing as knowing you have a whole team of awesome people working with you and who love your story as much as you do. I feel incredibly lucky to be in the #SwoonSquad.

Author spotlight

Jen Wilde

Hi! I’m Jen, a writer, geek + fangirl. When I’m not writing YA stories, I love binge-watching my favourite shows …

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