I am nearing the end of Eleanor's edits. That's a remarkable thing to be able to say; after all, I began editing this novel with David Gatewood in the spring of 2014, edited it again with Seth Fishman and David in the late summer/early fall, and began formally revising it with Zack Wagman, my editor at Crown, in November. It's now almost February.
I am enormously fortunate to have worked with three very smart and intuitive literary minds on this novel. And now it seems that I'm in something like the home stretch: once I am finished with this edit, I'll send it to Zack, and see where any rough edges remain.
For now, there are two remaining editorial notes to address. One boils down to Sometimes Eleanor is more passive than one might expect; the other can be reduced to Sometimes the story lags, just a bit.
So that's where I'm at, and what I'm charging forward with. It occurred to me that the best way to address these two edits is to re-read the entire novel from start to finish, making notes about Eleanor's woodenness and the story's molasses-like qualities as I go. Which means running off a fresh copy of the book that I can mark up.
Here's what Eleanor, draft number 486, looks like:
That's more than an entire ream of paper right there. I've got a lot of papercuts and squinting and red markup ahead of me still, no matter how close the end may seem.
But: once the edit is complete, that's when I get to witness the mechanisms of publishing from the inside. I'll see what it's like to watch a big novel go through the proofing and copyediting process, the cover design process, the early marketing strategy-building process, et cetera. It's exciting to think about how many people are involved these days in making this book's second wind something magical. It's been my book for a long time now—January marked Eleanor's fourteenth birthday, which, now that I think about it, is kind of magical itself, as Eleanor is for a large part of this novel fourteen years old—and now all of these other wonderful and book-loving people are shepherding it along the final leg of its journey, after which it will become (hopefully) everyone else's book.