Right now I'm waiting to get notes back from my editor at HarperCollins. It's nerve-wracking business, this waiting. I've decided I'm not very good at just chilling while someone else reads my manuscript. I'm sizzling with nervous energy, checking my email every little bit, anxious to get on with the next part, the next step of this process. I am so eager to revise my book under my editor's care, just to see it become better and stronger and worthy of what I feel is the incredible honor that's been bestowed on me. I want to work!
Next week I'm teaching revision strategies to my creative writing students at Pepperdine. That's where I try to show them how much fun the revision process can be, how cool it is to tinker and play with a story, to tear down and rebuild and reenvision everything. I show them a really early draft of a story I wrote a long time ago, and then the published version that was printed years later, and together we marvel at how far a story can come. And when I read that old story, I am always filled with a sense of awe and mystery of how the story shaped itself into something wonderful. I get excited with the sheer possibility of writing.
Here's what I hope from this process with Unearthly: I hope that I understand clearly what to do, and have the ability to do it, be it big changes or little ones. I hope that I will be able to fix it quickly, but thoroughly. Most of all I hope that what emerges is a rock-solid book, of course, something I will look back on with a sense of delight and amazement that such a thing could come from me. And that I'll be able to survive all the stretches of waiting that are before me in the next few years.