My manuscript came back from that lofty evaluation with over 16000 individual edits. Some as simple as punctuation, some more involved with plot, character, structure. This was a struggle for me.
I stared at both versions, the manuscript I had submitted and the returned, edited version, for a week, paralyzed by the entirety of it. And then I set to doing the work, changing my story and making it better thanks to the efforts of my editor. Three versions lived on my monitors, submitted, edited, and the version I was working on. I was in foreign territory, but working within its borders.
I spent weeks rewriting. During one unforgettable phone call with Kevin, I asked if it was PC enough to write, “…at least it was made by the Japanese.” Kevin’s response was that the statement itself isn’t offensive, and anyway it sounds like something Dallas would say. This momentary comment on a character I had created, that someone else now knew well enough to predict their mannerisms, blew my mind.
In essence, for the first time throughout this process of artistic creation, I felt I had succeeded at writing.