I got the “editorial letter” from my editorial goddesses, Tara and Catherine on February 11. To be completely honest, this complex thirteen-page synopsis of their thoughts and suggestions put the fear of God into me. A few days later I got the marked-up manuscript in the mail. At which point I decided to change my name and move to Rio.
I’m not scared of work. I’m not even scared of a boatload of work. But a boatload of work, doing a job that I’ve never done before (I’ve never had to rewrite based on anyone’s but my own editing), um, yeah…it was a little intimidating. However, after a few days of floundering around and moving stacks of papers into different little piles around my office, I came up with a workable system. And two and a half weeks later, I had rewritten my way through the entire red-penned manuscript and the thirteen pages of notes, with just a few scenes that I couldn’t resolve right away put to the side for later.
When Tara and Catherine sent me the editorial letter, we agreed on a schedule. I would take six weeks to do a first rewrite, then send them what I had. They would read it, give any further suggestions, and then I would have around six more weeks to do a final rewrite.
So we’re half-way through my first six weeks and I have a very rough draft of the “new-and-improved” SLEEPWALKING (which, I must say, is much more action-packed and streamlined than the original). I’m giving my brain today and tomorrow off: must not think of monsters, plots, a better word for this or that…any book-directed thinking is “strictement interdit”! Then, on Sunday, I’m getting onto a train to Paris, where I will spend three days in a tiny (but creatively decorated) hotel room where I’m going to read my new draft from cover to cover and make sure it all ties together.
After that, it will hopefully just be clean-up work and I will get the manuscript in on time at end-March.
More juicy news:
- The name of the book will not be SLEEPWALKING. But the new name has not yet been concocted.
- From now on I will be using the pen name “Amy Plum”. This is for a couple of reasons: 1st, there is an American children’s book writer with my name. And 2nd, Plum is my grandma’s name and she is one of my favorite people on the face of the earth. So if I’m going to change my name, why not get it from someone as amazing as Grammy?
- My wonderful agent, Stacey, and her agency Dystel & Goderich have managed to sell the book rights in four different foreign languages already! The first contract to come through was from CAPPELEN DAMM for Norwegian language rights. (Thanks, Pia!) I will let you know the other languages as soon as I have put pen to paper contract for each of them.
- And that’s all for juice, besides the fact that Tibor cried at the end of the Disney version of Hunchback of Notre Dame last night, and I am still a bit alarmed. (Of course, show me a credit card or coffee commercial, and I’ll hit you up for a box of Kleenex. But I am also not a 4 year-old boy.)
I will be back. Soon.