XOXOAD welcomes author Molly Harper to the blog today! Molly is the author of the popular Half Moon Hollow series of paranormal romances that began with Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs, as well as her Bluegrass series of contemporary e-original romances about a “Parks and Rec”-style group of officemates–the most recent installment is Snow Falling on Bluegrass, available now. Take it away, Molly!
The editing process can be painful. It has nothing to do with an author having “Golden Word Syndrome” or an unwillingness to revise. It’s just that once you finish a manuscript and turn it over to your editor, you are mentally done with that project, its characters and that world. But I’m fortunate enough to work with an editor who makes the process as painless as possible.
Generally, by the time my editor, Abby Zidle, sees a manuscript, it’s been through two drafts by me, plus rewrite suggestions from my critique partner, Jeanette, and my agent, Stephany. Still, there are things that I miss, nuances and continuity issues.
Abby always catches them. And that’s when the fun starts. I actually look forward to getting my manuscripts with her notes. I can determine how good a manuscript is based on the number of smiley faces she leaves in the margins. And even when we disagree about something, there’s room for healthy debate in the comment section. Here are a few exchanges from my upcoming Half Moon Hollow novel, THE DANGERS OF DATING A REBOUND VAMPIRE:
Since we’re both a bit shark-obsessed, shapeshifter Jed’s appearance in THE DANGERS OF DATING A REBOUND VAMPIRE led to some interesting sidebar conversations. (I still say land sharks would hiss if they could survive outside of water. How lame would it be if you came across a walking shark and all he did was stare at you?) Generally, I’m willing to rewrite, as illustrated in the examples above… leaving behind some snarky commentary.
But then, there are the snarky comments left behind for snark’s sake, in which Abby and I realize that our personalities are eerily similar. For instance, if not for the sidebar comments, I wouldn’t have learned about Abby’s fondness for possum hijinks and we never would have established the “Molly Harper character gets attacked by marsupials” tradition that is required in almost all of my stories. (Abby once told me she might not accept a possum-free manuscript. I’m ninety percent sure she was kidding, but I’m not willing to take the chance.)
I don’t live anywhere near New York City. Despite the fact that we’ve been working together for three years on a dozen or so projects, I’ve only talked to Abby in person a handful of times. Having those little conversations in the margins helps me get to know my editor as a person. It’s how we’ve built our relationship from that awkward professional politeness to a partnership built on sarcasm and possum obsession.