I'm chatting with my editor, Mary-Theresa Hussey, who's been working with me for the last nine years. If you haven't read it, check out Part 1 here: http://officialmariavsnyder.blogspot.com/2013/05/chatting-with-my-editor-part-1.html
MTH: Maria--how do you see the revision process going?
MVS: The revision process is easier for me. My first draft is always the hardest to
write. It's when I discover all the
story elements and plot. I start with a
character, a situation, and a vague ending, but what happens along the way is
usually unplanned. Once the first draft
is finished, then comes the fun part.
I'll do a revision and send it to Mary-Theresa. When you returns it to me with your comments,
I open the file and read through them all.
Then I need a day to calm down!
It's funny how when I first read them, I'll be annoyed, impatient,
exasperated, depressed, and excited (when I get that rare smiley face). These emotions don't happen at the same
time--it's like a rollercoaster ride, depending on the comment.
And there are times I will ask
for more details about why you don't like something and you always have a good
explanation (grumble - more work for me). It's very rare when we don't
agree. Opal's choice in SPY GLASS is one example. And Kerrick's actions in the beginning of TOUCH OF POWER is another (I actually toned him down a bit!). I think we work well together. Your comments always improves the story. Always.
Mary-Theresa--since my story proposals tend to be vague
and I never follow them, I'm curious about your reaction to my first
drafts. For example, what was your first
impression when TOUCH OF POWER arrived?
MTH: I have learned that you tend to follow the story more
than the synopsis, but as long as it makes for something stronger, I'm all for
Usually I'll first read the manuscript through fairly
quickly, just to enjoy the story and to read it as a reader will. But I'll also
note places where I got confused or lost or the characters didn't seem
consistent. Then I'll go through more slowly, this time making more detailed
notes as I go along, and perhaps revising the first ones as things are revealed
later. It used to be scribbles in the margins, but now I can type comments on
the document, which makes transferring things much easier--though I do occasionally
miss curling up in a chair with a manuscript and pencil! I did find that when I
switched to commenting on screen it lost some of the immediacy of the good
marginalia at first, but that comes back as I stop and "hear" the
lines sing, or the endings twist. I then like to let it sit in my mind for
another day or so while some things get fleshed out and other concerns come to
the forefront. As it settles, the themes and overall structural issues fall
into place. Then I will get ready to send back the manuscript with an overview
about the larger issues that stopped me.
I always keep in mind the author's intentions and goals,
but she is so close to the story that she doesn't always put onto the pages
exactly what is meant by this or that. I try to pose my concerns as questions
or the occasional what if you did this scenario, but I trust the author to come
up with the answers that suit her story best.
TOUCH OF POWER was one of the stories I just gobbled up!
The freshness of Avry's world, and her dilemmas was compelling. I still don't
think I'd be as willing to take on the pains and scars of others though--the
Healers have more generosity of spirit and body than I do! The differences in
the Realms went beyond Ixia and Sitia, and I saw that you were creating a new
world that was vivid and grounded in different ways. And though I had a couple
of issues with the hero, he balanced out Avry's selflessness nicely!
Throughout the manuscript there were shadings of familiar
elements as Avry struggled to understand her powers and place in the world, but
the situations were so different, and her voice was all her own, that it just
felt really new and exciting. I've always looked forward to Maria's stories,
and seeing where she's going with them, but TOUCH OF POWER brought me back to
some of the early excitement of my first loves--Yelena and Valek--and the
wonder of discovering their worlds.
Asking around the office, you'll find that I was saying
it was like when we first read POISON STUDY and were captured by that emotion
all over again!
And while the manuscript bits are happening, we're also
trying to find the perfect cover and copy to represent the book.
Maria -- How do you find
Find out my answer in Part 3!