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From Pipe Dream to Published Part 2— Working With My Editor, Natalie Hanemann

My literary agent, Don Pape, suggested I interview at least five editors for a developmental edit.

This is a particular type of edit. It is not a line by line edit that focuses on grammar and punctuation. Instead, a developmental edit studies the overall flow of the story, the development of the characters, tone, theme and pacing.

I decided to go with Natalie Hanemann. You can learn more about her at She is AMAZING!

Natalie worked on my manuscript for six weeks, otherwise known as the longest six weeks of my life. What did she like? What needed to change? Ahhh!

Finally, I received the Rockhill Developmental Edit. To my relief, it included both strengths and weaknesses. Most of the changes were easy enough to make. For example…

— The opening scene is too long. It needs to be trimmed.

— You spend too much time in Nathan’s head. He needs to do less thinking about the problem and more acting on it.

— There needs to be additional layers to the conflict around page 100.

— You need to tie up the resolution to Angela’s character arc. Right now it feels unresolved.

This list is but a sampling of the helpful feedback I received. However, one change required me to make a significant change, one I wasn’t sure I was ready to make.

Originally I wrote the novel in first-person present. My goal was for the reader to see the world through the pastor’s eyes. First person present means “I run to the church” or “I say this.”

Natalie recommended (strongly) I change the novel to third-person past.

Oh boy.

I fought this suggestion at first because I knew how long it would take to change all of the tenses in the novel. But deep down, I knew she was right. Rockhill would be a stronger story when told in the more traditional third-person past.

In early June I met with Natalie and Don to thoroughly discuss the proposed edits. Then I got to work.

You could say it’s been a summer of editing. And honestly? I’ve loved it.

The edits are now complete. The novel stands at 85,000 words.

I’ve turned in my (hopefully) final draft to Don. And now I wait.

Don is carefully reviewing the edited manuscript and I expect to hear back any time now. Then we’ll submit to publishing houses, cross our fingers, and say a prayer. What does the submission process entail?

Join me next time for Part 3 of From Pipe Dream To Published: Submissions To Publishers

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