So, last Friday I got my revision letter for the sequel to Everneath (EVERNEATH 2: IT'S EVERNEATH-IER). This is always a scary time, I think for most writers. Unless you're Stephenie Meyer. She probably writes her own revision letters. Because she can do that. Because she's Stephenie Freakin' Meyer.
When I know my revision letter is coming, I like to prepare myself. I look in the mirror and say:
"Your editor likes you. She likes your book. She likes your characters. It's not personal."
"Remember revision letters are just more writing. You like writing."
Then I get all existential:
"Remember your book is just a bunch of words. Made up of tiny letters. Which are really just blips on a computer screen. Why are you so attached to blips? What did they ever do for you?"
and then I get personal:
"Seriously, reflection, your hair is, like, white."
and then defensive:
"Shut up, mirror-me! The box told me I'd look like Sarah Jessica Parker!"
Then you get the actual letter. I have a process for this that involves seven easy steps. I'm not saying this will work for everyone. I'm just saying it works for me.
Seven Steps to Reading a Revision Letter
1. The moment when you get the revision letter, spring back from the computer as if it is rabid.
This will give you literal space between you and all of your mistakes.
2. Jog a few laps around the kitchen island, shouting old World War II phrases of battle, like: "Mayday Mayday!" and "Tora Tora Tora!" and "Vive l'Empereur !"
This will get your blood flowing, thus getting you ready for the next step, which is...
3. Reading the letter.
Not you, though. You still stay away from the letter. Let someone more responsible, and less prone to hair dyeing mistakes, read the letter. In my case this person is Sam.
4. Have your more responsible half read all of the positive sentences from the letter, and skim over the rest.
This will sound something like: "Blah blah blah... Oh, she really likes the ending. Blah blah blah blah... oh, she uses the word 'potential' a lot here. Blah blah blah."
5. Print the letter.
While it is printing, stand next to the printer with your significant other, counting the pages as they print. Say things like, "It's probably going to be nineteen* pages long!" so that you can be pleasantly surprised when it is shorter.
*caution: Aim high because you really don't want to hit that number.
This time, it was seven pages long.
6. Go to dinner, and have your significant other mention briefly some of the highlights of the things your editor wants to change.
This way, when you read the actual letter, you can already have some ideas as to how to fix things. You can even convince yourself that you were going to fix these things anyway, and her letter just confirms it.
7. Finally, blog about reading the editorial letter before you read the editorial letter.
I just realized my "Seven Steps to Reading a Revision Letter" program doesn't involve actually reading the letter. So, I guess I should end this post and read it, since I got it three days ago. Unless you don't want me to go.
*eyes unread revision letter on kitchen table*
Cuz I could totally stay. And hang out for a bit. We could talk and stuff.
*imagines revision letter mocking me*
I mean, really. One more day of freedom won't hurt, right?