The rocks and coral underwater support a massive invertebrate community. The substrate is splotched with brilliant color and it's hard to pick out any one creature.
How is this like a novel? You ask.
I will tell you.
12:11 am 82 degrees.
Last Friday I raved about my agent.
Today I'm going to rave about my editor.
It's no secret who an editor is for a particular book. It's listed in PM & PW deals and usually (if the author has manners) at the back of the book in the acknowledgement page.
My editor from Putnam happens to be Peternelle Van Arsdale. You are a fortunate writer if she loves your book and acquires it for Putnam. Very fortunate.
Having an editor who shares your vision is important but trusting that an editor will make suggestions that can make your book stronger is even more important. Periodically I read about authors ranting about how they're so invested in their work that each word is critical.
They say they don't need editing.
PHOOEY! I say. PISH TOSH! I cry.
EVERYBODY NEEDS EDITING. And lots of it. Think of it as a giant pill that has to be swallowed.
Now don't you feel better?
Peternelle wrote me wonderful editorial letters with marvelous insights that made me sit back and reexamine my intensions as a writer and clarify my prose.
"Would Perry say that?"
"What is the point of this chapter?"
"Why does this character do this? Can they do that instead?"
After each pass, I could feel my novel become stronger and stronger.
She made it clear that it was my book, ultimately it was my decision, but also said that she found if a writer made at least 75% of suggested changes, it usually was sufficient. (I think I made all of them! In fact, I'm sure of it.)
And it made LOTTERY a much better book.
So, when you are polishing your novel for submission and you hear suggestions about changes, or cutting excessive length, or expanding characterization. Consider them. Get used to the fact that fresh outside eyes can enhance your work.
And realize, as in the coral reef, there's more to a book than meets the eye. It takes a myriad of people to bring a novel out into the world.
There is much of me in Lottery but there is much of Peternelle, too.
I said it in my acknowledgement page, and I'll say it again here.
In Perry speak
You are totally cool, Peternelle.