I've been writing for a long time. I have one novel out, submitted the second, and am working on the third. I also teach classes about writing the genre novel so I like to believe I know what I'm talking about.
And then I get from my editor the five-page revision letter for my second novel. It starts: "I really like the story," which leads to the punch line: "You've got a great start."
Great start. Code for: "you’re off the mark, pal." I know, that's what I write on critiques.
I wonder about those writers who brag that their manuscripts didn't get even one requested change. My first thought: "Your editor must not have read your book very carefully."
Then I heard Robert Crais at a luncheon. He mentioned the process behind L.A. Requiem.
Robert was under contract to write a sequel and instead he submitted a stand-alone. His editor called back. "This isn't a sequel. However, this story blew me away. It's so good we're upping your advance."
Admittedly, that was my fantasy when I turned in X-Rated Bloodsuckers,
the sequel to Nymphos.
I wanted to hear, "Mario, you wowed us with your prose. We love you. Here, take what you can carry from our vault. Wait, bring a wheelbarrow."
The beautiful part of writing is that you don't have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon.
My editor calls them as she sees them, that's her job. I value her expert opinion and revising the manuscript is part of the process in bringing a book to press. I want reviewers to rave about the sequel, and more to the point, I want to satisfy the most important people in this publishing business--you the reader.