Rewrites: What to do When Your Requested Rewrite Seems Enormous

Bite by bite.

Just over a week ago, I was finishing up a young adult nonfiction manuscript when my inbox pinged at me.  “Requested Rewrite.”

I quickly popped it open to see how many comments I was dealing with because instead of a letter my editor comments throughout the Word Document.  There were 133 comments.

Question: How do you tackle 133 comments?

Answer:  One bite at a time.

There’s only one way to do this and that’s one comment at a time. The tricky thing is that until you read them all, you don’t really know how much work each will be.  Sometimes the head editor and assistant editor discuss something for two or more comments so that’s numerous comments for a single change.  Other times one comment may mean replacing a source to the tune of 25 changes.

So I read through them all and then I pick one and get to work.  Sometimes I do them in order.  Sometimes I do all of the easy ones first.

This time around, I got to work through a real test of my methodology.  Friday, my brother-in-law fell off a roof.  It was only a one story building but he landed on concrete.  The good news is that there is no head injury and his legs are fine.  The bad news is that he has a lot of skeletal damage and has already had three surgeries with at least one more to go.

Since he’s been in the ICU. we haven’t been able to really visit him.  But I’m the on-call person for my niece who is in school.  She can visit her dad so I’m her ride. And my sister’s breaks are giving her trouble so I’ll be taking her home from the shop.

Run out and help.  Come home and work through one, two, three comments.  I got the last one done at 8:00 pm last night.  Now I just have to read through it all and turn it in.  How will I do it?  One page at a time.