Swoon Author Jennifer Honeybourn's Editing Update: A Necessary Edit
You know that stomach-drop feeling you get when you’re on a rollercoaster and the coaster has reached the very top and you’re about to plunge down the track to the bottom? That pretty much sums up how I feel when I’m about to open my edit letter. I know it’s going to be scary and I might feel like screaming, but there’s nothing I can do at that point but try to enjoy the ride.
I’ve written three books—Wesley James Ruined My Life, When Life Gives You Demons and Just My Luck—which equals many edit letters (first/second/sometimes third round) and it’s not gotten any easier. And I don’t expect it ever will. Because–hard truth time—no draft is perfect. It will always need work because the writer is often too close to it to see plot holes or unnecessary scenes or a sagging middle.
Edit letters can feel overwhelming (because they are overwhelming), but it helps to remember that they will help you build a better book. Just My Luck was, without a doubt, the hardest of my three books to write. The edit letter reflected how far I’d gotten off-course. I knew I had a ton of work ahead of me and no real idea where to start. But, as someone wise once said, the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time (an aside: in no way do I endorse eating actual elephants). Breaking the letter down and tackling the issues one at a time definitely helps me.
And in the end, all of the work (and fear and panic and self-doubt) was worth it. The version of Just My Luck that will end up in bookstores is a far-cry from the version I first sent my editor, Kat Brzozowski. And that wouldn’t have been possible if I didn’t have a team of people—Kat, my agent, copyeditors, proofreaders—pushing me and helping me to climb to new heights as a writer.