(Pictured: Short Sands Beach in Oregon)
Well hello there,
It has been a busy last couple of weeks! My ARC (Advanced Reading Copy) edit is due to Skyhorse on Friday, so I’ve been polishing a few hours each morning in the early early early before my parental responsibilities wake up. For those who don’t know, an ARC is an uncorrected paperback version of the novel that publishers send out to reviewers, magazines, newspapers, tastemakers, and bookstore owners, to try and drum up business before the release date.
I realized (or re-realized) last week that editing for me moves like a sine curve. I’ve seen this novel (and every short story I’ve written) expand and contract in terms of word count dozens of times before it’s “finished” (is anything ever finished?). The outer reaches of the sine curve of expansion and contraction becomes less and less pronounced the closer the piece gets to completion, until finally you’re just changing words here and there. I think Raymond Carver said he knew a story was finished when all he was changing was comma placement. So I’m currently in the contraction phase, but I’m heartened because I’m only editing out 500 words (which in a 65K word novel isn’t much, at least compared to one previous edit where I took out 20K words). Plus, I feel as though those 500 words don’t necessarily have to go, but they don’t have to stay either. If the book didn't move at such a fast pace, I'd keep them, but hey. After a while, past decisions you've made about your book start to dictate the present ones.
The other news is that my story collection is being considered by an editor at an unnamed NY publishing house at this very moment. I’m cautiously optimistic, but publishing a short story collection is tough. I’d hazard a guess that 25 novels are published by larger houses for each story collection. So cross all of your fingers that it’ll happen!