Posted on September 29th, 2008 by Anna Jarzab
It feels like forever since I got my book deal but, in reality, it’s been like two weeks. Okay, not even, because it’ll be two weeks tomorrow. Whatever! Since then, the only book related thing I’ve really done (other than tell everybody I’ve ever met about it and drink a lot of beers on my friends’ tabs in celebration of it) is have lunch with my editor, Francoise, last Friday. And I do mean the ONLY thing, because even though I have two books on the table now with Delacorte, I haven’t seriously touched either of them since August 22, when I finished the rough draft of MB.
There is method to this madness. I’m waiting to do any revisions on AUT right now, naturally, because I don’t want to muck around with it until I get my editorial letter, which probably won’t happen until sometime in early-mid November. I think this is reasonable. I haven’t touched MB because I was afraid I didn’t have the perspective and distance yet to adequately eviscerate it in the way that I think all rough drafts need to be eviscerated.
To illustrate this point properly, I offer you the following story: I sent the manuscript to a couple of people after giving it a once-over reading, and one of those people (my wonderful cousin, Emma, who reads all of my books and talks to me about them at length even when they’re in the conceptual stages, like GR) kept copy and pasting quotes she liked from the manuscript onto my Facebook wall. So I would go into the manuscript and look up the quote and then read the chapter or whatever and think, “God, this is so funny, I can’t believe I wrote this!” That is how I knew I wasn’t ready to edit yet–if I was thinking it was good, I hadn’t had enough time to get it out of my system.
But it’s been over a month now since I typed “The End” on MB (that is a lie, I never type “The End”, but you know what I mean–I finished it) and on Friday Francoise told me that she thought the prologue to MB was dynamite. I thought it was pretty great, too, so I went into the MS later that day to read it and remind myself what a brilliant writer I am. GUESS WHAT?
Later that night, the following conversation took place:
Anna: Francoise told me today at lunch that she really liked the MB prologue.
Cambria: That’s great.
Anna: So I read it and I hated it.
Cambria: That’s ridiculous.
Anna: And you know what that means!
Cambria: That you’re crazy?
Anna: No. That it’s time to start editing.
I don’t mean to say that my editor is wrong about the prologue. What I mean to say is that I now have the right amount of distance–I can look critically at my work–to start working on it, although I might need to do a quick pass and then send it on to Joanna because I have a feeling I might not be able to see logical flaws. Still, I have a list of edits I’d like to make, as well as Emma’s feedback on the end that was super helpful. Plus, it’s plot board time again! Blurgh. That’s going to be a lot of work, and a lot of hand cramping, I just know it. But I also know from the AUT revision process that it pays off in the end, and it looks really pretty with all the colors.
Not to mention that I’m very excited to get back to the MB world. I missed those clowns.