For those of you who don't know, I'm in the middle of first-round edits for The House of a Thousand Dolls, and I'm blogging about the process. Feel free to chime in with questions, suggestions or general awesomeness.
Probably the most awesome thing about having an editor (aside from the editorial letter itself) is that after you get the letter, you're not just left to figure out how to do everything on your own. Your editor is there to help you figure it out.
Step 3: Brainstorming
After all the intense suggestions in the edit letter, it was really good to be able to email back and forth with Sarah about how best to do some of these things.
There's an idea out there--especially in this day of DIY publishing--that an editor is an mostly-unnecessary evil, someone who cares more about marketability than creative integrity, someone who demands that you put sparkly vampires into everything you do.
I can't speak for anyone else, but that is NOT AT ALL my experience.
From the beginning, Sarah made it clear that she wanted the edits to be a conversation between us. We talked about character backstories and sideplots, about which parts of my worldbuilding were't coming through and which ones could use more focus. And when I told her which parts of the story mattered most to me, she was able to give advice on how to make those parts sing.
(One thing that helped was that I had already decided on the core of the story. That freed me up to listen to my editor's suggestions without getting defensive.)
All of which goes to show that a good book is not just about the writer. A good book is a conversation. A conversation between you and your editor. A conversation between you and your critique partner. And ultimately a conversation between you and your reader. If you hold onto your story too tightly, the conversation can't go anywhere, and your story will only ever be about you.
What do you think? Does conversation make books better?