I’m still waiting on one editor to send comments on Monday, but I’ve heard from two editors so far, and the comments are interesting with some pretty good overlap. As is true when blind reviewers read my academic paper submissions, I weight the overlapping comments much more heavily, and take under consideration any comments about readers’ “favorite” and “least favorite” parts.
In other words, how can I lever up the “favorites” and fix the “least favorites” or “problems” so that the best parts of the writing show through?
I was encouraged and interested to see that “favorites” and “good parts” comprised about 17,000 of the 62,000 words I wrote in this draft, and that one little 1,500 word segment I wrote at the last minute was deemed “the most engrossing part” by one editor. Another 14,000 of the 62,000 words seemed to be “pretty well received” by the editors. Not bad to have roughly 50% of the writing “at least pretty well received” by two separate editors.
However, a sizable 22,000 chunk of the 62,000 words were problematic or confusing. This gives me very clear information on what is coming through and how to order and shape the story in future drafts. Do I need a time span covering 10 years between the two elements of the story? Which elements can I delete to avoid diluting the core story? These are tough questions, and good questions to ask myself.
I’m looking forward to the next set of editor comments coming on Monday, along with the thoughts from the “fiction fan” I’ve also hired to give a kind of “layman’s read” of the story. It helps to hear from a rep of the mass market, as well.