I avoided looking at my inbox until late in the day, so I wouldn’t get obsessive about checking to see if Cole sent the developmental edit, yet. Instead, I went to the zoo and had a fabulous time with my friend Wendy. We hung out with the giraffes and birds. See more photos here.
Around 6:30 pm, I checked my email. It arrived! I took a deep breath in, feeling both excitement in my belly and apprehension in my chest as I clicked open the email. I found three-word documents attached, including a letter, a new suggested outline, and the manuscript.
I scanned each of them and felt swirling in my brain
…and heavier breathing up into the top of my chest. I acknowledged that familiar, overwhelmed feeling, took a couple more deep breaths in, and the feeling started to dissipate.
Next, I printed out the documents, plopped onto my couch, positioned pillows under my elbows for comfort and support, and started to read the first letter.
“This is a rather long letter, but don’t panic. That’s actually a good sign!” Phew! I let out a sigh and continued reading.
“… Fair warning: revising is often the hardest part of the writing process.” Oh boy! This is going to be hard work, I thought. Thankfully, next, he said exactly what I needed to hear and confirmed why I chose Wise Ink for my publisher!
“But luckily, you have a lot of great material to work with… I’m going to be available throughout the process to bounce ideas off of and work through difficult changes with you.
I want to work with you to make sure this book reflects your experience and effectively communicates the information you want the reader to know.”
This time, I let out a huge sigh and felt tears in my eyes. Relief!
I am supported.
I continued reading the letter that included information and guidance on:
- Overall book and chapter structure
- Suggested cuts
- Transitions from one paragraph or chapter to the next
- Cause and effect explanation
- Expositions vs. physical detail
- Elements of physicality in narration
- Active voice versus passive voice
I felt that overwhelming feeling coming on again, so I set the letter aside and started breathing down into my belly again. I didn’t want thoughts like “I don’t know what he’s talking about,” “I can’t do this,” or “I am not going to be able to meet the deadline” camping out. The breathing helped me get present, out of overwhelm, and released those thoughts.
I scanned the letter again and saw that it was a resource with a lot of great information in it to help me write better that I could refer to over and over again.
Next, I looked at the option outline.
He suggested splitting the book into three parts:
- Facing the Past
- Finding My Voice
- Healing for the Future
In the new outline, the number of chapters expanded from 12 to 15, and many stories moved to new locations.
Finally, I started reading the comments in the manuscript comments and agreed with his fair warning.
He asked me to dig in even deeper to the emotions of my stories to better draw in the reader.
+ How did this calm manifest physically in the narrator’s body?
+ Think back to the moment in more detail about why the narrator went to the therapist.
+ Dig deeper into why the narrator may not have shared her trauma at the time.
Those comments are not for the faint of heart. But, I told myself, I can do this! I’ve got this! It’s time to dig in.
Read book update #8… when I share the details on what I caught myself doing to avoid feeling my emotions when I was editing a story about my son.