My editor, Holly Loriincz, has returned Crown Hill with her suggestions for making my novel the best it can be.
I have awaited Crown Hill’s edited transformation as I did my children’s first year at college; aware that when my daughter and son returned they would be changed….no doubt for the better relative to their independent lives….but none the less, no longer solely mine.
So it was that I sat and stared at Holly’s email, semi-paralyzed in the realization of the judgement that awaited. The email’s title was simple enough, “Crown Hill edit”. No hint of her critiques there. I washed some dirty dishes, changed from my work clothes to jeans, went for a walk, prepared some dinner and then ate it while continuing to stare at the fateful email.
Finally, I’d had enough of my foolish fears. I clicked.
I read, re-read and continued to read her editor’s note, written in a kind and direct style.
“Hello Christina! Yes, I’m finally done. I ended up writing a more extensive review for you, wanting to be sure I was as helpful as possible. You have a fantastic, well-written story here.”
Was she actually saying that she liked Crown Hill? Did she really call my story well-written?
“I hope you find this assessment helpful. I know it is difficult to see a running tally of suggested changes, but always remember you have created a diamond that I’m just helping you to polish. All the best to you, and thank you so much for sharing this project with me. Holly”
My euphoria over Holly’s positive feedback was quickly tempered by the looming attachment containing her actual edits. Once again, I returned to the email message digging for clues. “…a running tally of suggested changes “. My imagination envisioned reems of edits, each pointing to the ways in which I had failed to deliver a truly readable novel.
More mindless tasks and a half hour of American Idol later, I finally mustered up the courage to face the dreaded attachment. I clicked.
by Holly Lorincz
To: Christina Abt
Title: CROWN HILL
My evaluation: “This is a fantastic, unique story with wonderful characters. I believe you have a shot at publication if you can get it tightened up. You are a good writer with an innate sense of how to tell a story, including stories from different time periods. As you read through my notes, PLEASE keep in mind that it is only because you have created such a developed story that I am able to offer advice to polish the rough edges, because you need to be proud of what you have birthed here. My comments below are in no way a negative reflection on your writing, they are meant as honest, direct criticism that you can immediately apply, if you choose, to what is already a fine work of art that is well on its way to a bookshelf.”
As I scrolled through Holly’s considered and thoughtful edits, I realized that the sum total of her suggestions came to four and a half pages, for a novel of 453. More importantly, of all of her notes there is only one suggestion with which I did not agree, and will probably not change.
Crown Hill has come home….and, thankfully, still belongs to me.