We have a winner!
We had over 100 entries for the contest. We're grateful for all the entries. And keep watching the Novel Matters blog as we will be holding more contests like this one from time to time. We love offering these happy surprises to our readers.
The winner of the Teeth and Bone Editing Contest (chosen from a hat by Bonnie's son) is:
Congratulations, Ellen! You can e-mail Bonnie at our gmail address (in the contact section) for instructions on the next step.
I happen to be one of those writers who loves to hear an editor say: "You have to kill off Joe and make Mary tons more empathetic. And that Sue doesn't step up to the plate. Consolidate her and those three other characters into one. Hey, have you considered making your protagonist a guy?"
(I also get my lip waxed. Keep that in mind.)
This is the truth of the matter--an editor won't ask you to make changes unless s/he is completely committed to the story and believes you're up to the task of making it sing. You want your editor to sharpen his red pencil. It's painful, but having an editor step alongside will help you write a story that will last.
And that's what we want, isn't it?
I've never trusted a critique partner who couldn't rip my writing apart. I figure the manuscript is beyond help, if they don't offer suggestions. I sure wouldn't trust an editor like that either. (I've never met an editor like this, but I've heard they lurk within the golden halls of the NYC publishing scene.) In fact, I edit my stories with every reading, even after publication!
And I love the challenge of revision from editorial notes in a I-will-climb-Mt. Everest-in-my-flip-flops sort of way. No, it's not a trip to Disney World, but it's a cognitive thrill ride that tests me. After all, I've spent the better part of a year writing my story. I want it to go off to the presses ready to please readers. More truthfully, I don't want to embarrass myself. Editors make me look much better than I am. For that, I love them.
Here's an example. If you haven't read The Queen of Sleepy Eye yet, please read the remaining part of this post through your fingers.
I submitted a proposal to sell Queen. Everyone knows stories can take on lives of their own once the writing process starts. In the synopsis, I killed off a character. By the time that part of the story came around in the manuscript, I loved my character too much. He didn't deserve to die. The story world was a better place because of him. My editor didn't think so. His editorial notes looked like this:
My editor was right. I rewrote the last 25% of the novel, killing off my sweet character as originally planned. The story was stronger. The ending more satisfying and much sadder.
After the last two weeks, I think we agree that we need editors and heavy edits are a blessing rather than a curse. It's Friday. We're all edited out, so let's have some fun and give you a chance to enter the contest. So, what will you send your editor for Christmas this year? No budget. No size limit. Be generous.