A piece of advice I received from Marty Chan regarding Editor’s comments was, don’t necessarily make the change they suggest. Always look at why the suggestion is made and understand how to fix it in context to the story.
His words or wisdom were extremely timely for me. I had just gotten back the edits from my Publisher for Mik Murdoch: The Power Within. When I read some of the comments, my first inclination was to say, “Did she even read the first book?” Then I thought more about why those comments were made and I realized that I don’t want readers to need the context of the first book to ‘get’ the second one. I needed to do a better job of transitioning some of the elements from the first to second books.
Once I did that, Mik 2 became a better book that could be enjoyed on its own.
There were other comments that I had to do more of the same. Setting seemed to be a good candidate for misunderstanding between me and my Editor. After some thought, it became clear that the pictures in my own mind were not being translated quite the same way between the two of us. I had a chat with my Editor and that clarified a lot of things for me.
It turned out that, because we are from geographically different places, things are not the same. When I type it out it seems so obvious, but when I wrote it, it wasn’t. I had my experiences to draw from and it was so clear what could and couldn’t be that I didn’t bother to clearly spell out certain things. My Editor had a slightly different world-view and she saw things differently.
Once I came to that realization, I was able to clear things up with a few well-placed sentences that eliminated the confusion.
They were such little changes, but they made a world of difference.
I always try to make things that are everyday to a character seem unremarkable in the story. It turns out, I still need to call out some things that a reader might find strange from his or her own perspective.