For the last month I’ve been working on the story edits for The Slickrock Paradox, book one in the Red Rock Canyon Mystery series. This is always an amazing experience. As this is the third book that I’ve worked on with the same story editor, we’ve developed a bit of a rhythm. I’ve also begun to notice a pattern in my response to this initial editorial process. Here are, somewhat tongue in cheek, the 15 Stages of the Story Editing Process:

1)      False sense of hope that comes when you finish your “final” draft and send it to publisher.

2)      Uncomfortably long wait while your publisher amasses an editorial (SWAT) team.

3)      Awkward questions from said editorial team: “did you send us the wrong draft?”

4)      Forewarning from the publisher that soon the editorial team will be done. For now.

5)      Anticipated arrival of the marked up draft, complete with intro: WE have some work to do.

6)      Utter disheartening sense of abject failure that accompanies reading the mark-ups. Drinking commences.

7)      Misplaced frustration with those who have killed all your darlings.

8)      Inevitable regret for having slept through grade 9 phonics.

9)      Self loathing for having made all the same mistakes over again. Shame.

10)   Grudging acceptance that the story is better without the 47 pages of exposition that have been cut.

11)   Just plain hard work re-writing the story so that it makes a shred of sense.

12)   Strange affection for those who have taken a well tuned chainsaw to a year of your life’s work.

13)   Recognition that creating a good (even decent) novel is a team effort.

14)   Further acceptance that the writer is not the captain of said team.

15)   Perverse – even borderline masochistic – willingness to do it all again.

As posted on Twitter @stephenlegault.