By Amy MacKinnon
I think it was our second meeting when I submitted twenty pages of my manuscript, then tentatively title TETHERED, to my writers' group. This is Hannah's feedback from that night. I was wreck showing it to them, but see how kind her notes are -- and they weren't overwhelming either.
This second page is what I submitted to Grub Street's Muse and the Marketplace two years ago. I signed up with Little, Brown editor Asya Muchnick. Beforehand, she read 20 page of my manuscript, making careful notes on each. It was waiting in line for my critique when I met Gail Konop Baker; what a blessing that's been. Asya gave my manuscript a careful, thoughtful edit. I floated out of there.
Now this third page is probably the most marked-up of the bunch. That handwriting belongs to my editor Sally Kim. After sending me a two page editorial letter with an overall structural critique (what needs tweaking, what doesn't work, what needs more depth), she then did a careful line edit of the manuscript. Now don't let anyone tell you editors don't edit anymore. Here's physical proof they do and do it beautifully.
And then the lovely, lovely copy edits. Now when it's your turn to open that huge bubble-lined manilla envelope and pull out your manuscript, you'll be tickled to see a key with all of your characters' names, every major business, each setting. It's quite a kick. It might also intimidate you a bit to know a professional grammarian has laid eyes on your words. Not to worry, s/he is on your side to make your book the best it can be. There will be a lot of marks. It might scare the bejesus out of you so much, you close the envelope back up again -- for a few days. I'm not saying I did this, but I might have. Once you plunge in, though, you find it's not nearly as humiliating as you feared. In fact, I asked my bestest friend Heather Grant Murray, also a copy editor, to go over it as I did. I love copy editors.
Then the best part happens. Your first pass pages arrive. For the first time since you sat down at your desk all those years ago, you see how your words will appear on the page. Isn't it magnificent? Lynn Amft designed the interior layout and she is brilliant. The very first design I was shown, I loved. She captured the tone perfectly.
Looks like quite a bit of work by many hands, doesn't it? But imagine, that's just one page...