Several months ago I hired a professional editor to take a look at Glass Houses. Due to other commitments, it took her a while to get to my manuscript. Today I (finally) received her review.
The five-page review was actually better than I expected. Her criticisms were nothing I hadn’t heard before, and included several ideas for how we might address them. Her thoughtful review emphasized the positive and helped me to see a way to fix problems I’ve known about since finishing the memoir.
Her review focused on general comments, strengths of the manuscript, and recommended revisions. The general comments revolved around narrowing down the storyline, selecting major characters (rather than the cast of thousands in the current draft), and identifying the major themes. She thinks I need to move part of the end of the story (my final conversation with Toodles) to the front of the book. It’s interesting that starting with the end and doing a lot of flashbacks was my original plan. I just couldn’t figure out how to do it.
The section on strengths of the manuscript was (obviously!) my favorite. She thought the story was chocked full of content that people could relate to. I’ve heard this from many of you who’ve read the manuscript but figured you were just being nice. Hearing it from a professional editor who doesn’t know me from Adam really made me feel good. She also listed her favorite chapters–all of which I re-read this afternoon.
She had high praise for my voice (my unique storytelling style) and wants to showcase it more. I’ve always thought my sense of humor was my salvation. She apparently agrees and would like to see more of it.
Her recommended revisions fall into four broad areas. She wants to vary the length of the chapters–right now all are very short which she sometimes found to be distracting. She says I do too much telling and not enough showing. She’s absolutely right–I didn’t learn the difference until feedback from the writer’s group about Addicted. She also thought my descriptions were too detailed in places and perhaps not detailed enough in other places (both common complaints from those who’ve read the manuscript). And of course, she wants to pare down the number of characters. Her suggestions make perfect sense to me and dealt with issues I’ve been too close to the story to resolve.
She also thinks I need to change the title. I love the title Glass Houses for a hundred different reasons. It’s a family name and also works in terms of the openness of the story. I might be willing to consider Toodles and Me, or perhaps some kind of secondary or parenthetical title. We shall see.
To my surprise and delight, she expects to have all her edits to me by November 1, perhaps earlier. That’s a lot faster than I expected. That means I need to change my plans.
Yesterday I added a lot of new content to Addicted. This afternoon I added still more. I’m rapidly heading toward the end and should have it finished perhaps by the end of this month and certainly by the end of October–just in time to start working on Glass Houses again.
That means book number three will just have to wait. Writing Addicted has been a lot of fun and I have learned a ton about what it takes to write a novel. But my heart went into Glass Houses. Getting it published is job number one, here in…
My Glass House