The UPS guy came this week with a new revision letter and another marked up manuscript from the editor working on my middle grade novel with Walker Books.  I went through her notes, which are funny and brilliant and helpful and all things that an editor’s notes ought to be.  And tonight, I sat down at my computer to open a new document.

Draft #18.

That is a whole lot of drafts.

This manuscript is 47,536 words long.  Multiplied by 18, that’s more than 855,000 words to chew on.

That is a whole lot of words.  And even though I’m excited about these revisions, sometimes I get a little sleepy just thinking about it.

Tonight, these guys were my inspiration.

Less than a week ago, they could fit on one of my fingernails.  But they’ve been eating milkweed leaves, day and night.  I don’t think they even stop to sleep.   They have chewed through at least two big leaves a day — leaves that are more than twenty times the size of their bodies. They’ve been working their little striped tails off (do caterpillars have tails??), doing the hard work of getting ready to become butterflies.   And they’re getting big now.  They’re almost there.

So am I.  My line edits are due by the end of September.  Like the caterpillars, my manuscript is becoming more fleshed out, more grown up. 

But it’s not quite ready yet.  And I’m holding out for the butterfly.

26 Replies on “Metamorphosis

  1. That sure is a lot of words. And it can be hard to let some hit the cutting room floor. I get attached to my words. Hmmm, I know, a bit on the unhealthy side! But you’re a strong caterpillar. And everytime your inner butterfly appears it’s always awe inspiring!

  2. Go, Kate!

    Just picture how fabulous it’s going to feel holding that finished product in your hand. You really are coming up to the home stretch, you know. Keep at it!!!

  3. Thanks, Jen! Like you, I’m writing with a school schedule starting next week, which is good in some ways because I’ll have to be more disciplined.

  4. 🙂 how I understand THAT.

    this last week of not-quite-school, not-quite-summer is always the hardest for me to fit writing into … always something else on my mind.

    happy back to school!

  5. I love your caterpillar analogy.

    I got my second revision letter, and it seemed like most of the suggestions were really minor and manageable. Yay!

  6. Just got email from Incredi-Editor with a definite, “You’re going to have to revise this, and it won’t be easy, but here, have tons of encouragement on the way.”

    So this post of yours? This is way more helpful to me than you know.

    You are awesome. Keep working hard. And I hate bugs, but those caterpillars are mad cute.

    When they’re two-dimensional. 😀

  7. I’m thinking about that nap too.

    Good luck with your revisions! We’ll be working together some I think! My school schedule is in full swing. It does make me more disciplined.