Back in April, when I was already sick with appendicitis and didn’t know it, I feverishly banged out a story to enter into the Realm Makers short story contest. To my surprise and delight, my story made it to the semi-finals, at which time I was given the opportunity to revise and edit it.
I was very grateful for the chance to upgrade my story, so to speak, and enlisted the help of my critique group to get it into better shape before I sent it back. Then my story was selected as a finalist, which meant that it would be published in an anthology even if it didn’t win.
At the Realm Makers conference, the winner was announced (not me) and all the finalists had a brief meeting with an editor from Brimstone Press, the press who will be publishing the anthology.
From that point on, I was sailing in uncharted seas. The few articles and one story I had published in the past had involved little to no editing. A couple of weeks ago, my editor Bethany contacted me and asked for the most recent version of my manuscript. Then she sent it back to me with dozens of comments and suggested deletions and insertions.
I had to laugh when I saw how marked-up my manuscript was. Ten years ago, I’d have been in tears. I’d have felt like a failure as a writer and I would have wanted to give up. My reaction this time, however, was curiosity. I eagerly read through the whole thing, and ninety percent of the changes I accepted instantly because they were clearly improvements. I kept thinking, “why didn’t I think of that?” I mean, after all these years, I thought I had got pretty good at self-editing.
There were a few things that required more thought and effort on my part, and to be honest, I enjoyed the challenge. After going back and forth a couple more times, I think the editing is pretty much done. I am quite confident that the story is better than it was. That is the magic of working with an editor who knows what she’s doing. I found it enjoyable and stimulating.