Yesterday I received the first round of proposed changes from the editors of an anthology who were kind enough to want my work.
I stared at the email in my Inbox for about 90 minutes. I was terrified, to be honest. What kind of changes were they proposing? How drastic would the original work be modified to fit the mold? What if I would not be able to make some of the required edits? Would they use secret "writers only" codes and acronyms in the manuscript?
I finally steeled my resolve and double-clicked. My short story weighs in at about 7500 words (cut from the original 15K+) and there were no less than 220 comments in the margins! Ack!!!
I was mostly embarrassed that I'd sent such a sloppy submission in the first place. Were they taking my story as a charity case, like jocks inexplicably picking the dimwitted, nose-picking stooge for a pickup basketball game?
Next I felt a wave of depression wash upon the shores of my fragile ego. Jeez! I revised that short at least 10 times prior to placing it. Reading it over and over again, combing its guts line by line, looking for anything which might detract from the story. Yet the editors found PLENTY to address.
I had horrible flashbacks of my AP English class in high school. I was not the most adept student in class and as a result my work was typically returned with liberal doses of red ink dripping from the pages. My friends and I referred to such papers as "mortal wounds" or "bleeders".
My returned manuscript was bleeding digital red ink into the Internet and I had no way to stop it.
Then I actually started reading the COMMENTS and DELETED notes in the margin from the editors.
The points they raised were excellent and insightful. Details which I'd neglected or forgotten to fully address, subtle switches in POV, along with stupid grammatical errors. They also pointed out several occasions of "same word used too closely together" which is the BANE of my writing existence. And they offered solutions!
During the course of my revisions yesterday and today, I was able to make all the changes requested. I have to admit -- it was an eye-opening experience. Several of my bad habits are not quite gone, and I've been informed of a whole new generation of shitpiles to avoid in the future. It was great.
I also took a closer look at some of the revisions which were directly made by them to the ms. "Colour" instead of "color" and so forth. It took me a minute to figure it out.
The publishers are based in Australia, moron. That accounted for almost half the changes. My spirits soared once again. I don't suck turds! Go me!
In case you're wondering there are no curbs lining the streets of Australia. There are, in fact, KERBS. You learn something new every day...if you're not careful.