Enter Richard Therrien. Sounded like a nice guy but I wouldn’t know for sure. I sought him out via the internet but he and Mark picked up the relationship quickly and I never made it to one of their chat-over-coffee sessions. Was I envious? A little bit. But not because someone else would be re-doing my work — it was more because I couldn’t directly benefit from the substantive editing advice he was giving Mark. We hired Richard with the intent that it would be an educational experience for both of us. As it turned out, Mark would become a better writer and I would have to scrabble and claw to catch up — or write my own book and hire my own editor to learn those useful tricks for getting a writer to drop 30,000 words off their manuscript. What the ?????
That’s right. Mark went in with 115,000 words and came out with 85,000. And although I could pore through the emails and notes between Richard and Mark, it wasn’t quite the same as learning the techniques myself. But it was all okay because now the book was done. “Right? I’ll just have to do a quick proofread, right?”
“Well, if I give it to you now, it will need more than a proofread.”
“No. No it won’t. It’s done, right? I’ll just whip through it, pick out the typos and we’ll be ready to publish.”
“I think you might find more than just typos.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean I think it’s pretty rough still.”
“What do you mean? We paid good money for this guy. I’ve done my job and he’s done his; this book is done.”
“Hmmm. Yeah, we’ll see.”
When I was a day in, I saw. It was rough. Mark hadn’t been ready to give it to me but I had wanted to hurry the process. There were glaring mistakes and inconsistencies that weren’t regarded as he cut and slashed those 30,000 words. I cursed under my breath at every suggested edit and comment I made during my third pass through the entire darn book.
But there was a reward … and that reward made all the previous months of waiting worthwhile. When I reached the part where (can’t tell you), I knew that Mark had hit his mark. Not too jerky. Not too wimpy. This draft was just right.
To be continued …