Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Third Version

OK, I got the manuscript back today for the third revision. This one is much more nuanced - my publisher has been through it and made quite detailed notes, and though she cheerily said on the phone that there were just one or two simple changes to make before the whole thing is finally submitted for editing, it actually looks like an enormous amount of work. Oh well, all for the best, I suppose. It means that I will have to sacrifice my Friday night activities, though - this is going to take me all weekend, and I know they want it back asap.
In the last draft I was told to delete two chapters which didn't work on their own, and try to incorporate those stories elsewhere in the text. Well, I figured that if the chapters didn't work on their own (one was on Catholicism in Vietnam, the other was stories of my grandparents visiting me there) then the particular anecdotes must have sucked, so I just deleted them and forgot about them. A note on this new version of the manuscript asks, "can we have the grandparent stories back please?" So I have to try to find a place for them elsewhere in the book. Very risky work. But Maggie (my publisher) obviously DID hate the Catholic stories, because they remain un-resurrected.
I had a kind of fantasy that my book would be perfect on the first submission, and that my publisher would call me and say, "Genius - we're going straight to press as-is." Obviously, that must be the kind of fantasy that every first-time author has.
Admittedly it is a dull process, but there are worse things I could be doing. And I am confident that my publisher has my commercial interests at heart, and wants to release the best possible book she can. So I will continue to tweak and twist and re-arrange until I have produced a work of genius.