1) Have your first WTF moment when you open your editorial letter and see that your editor (even though she starts the letter by saying that it’s “a good first draft”) basically hates your manuscript.
She has marked (for deletion) perfectly good jokes, she thinks your characters might be unlikable, you clearly don’t know the difference between “lay” and “lie”, and what does she mean you can’t kill puppies and babies???
Realize that, not only does she hate your manuscript, she hates you too.
2) Take a step back. Have a glass of wine (this step may also be substituted by any of the following: Xanax, one pound bag of M&Ms, an entire bottle of wine, a shot (or three) of tequila, a carton of ice cream, or a nap).
Let her words sink in. Remind yourself that you’re not, in fact, an idiot with no grasp of the human language, that people really do think you’re frickin’ hilarious, and that maybe that baby/puppy deserved it.
3) After you’ve talked yourself down, consider that maybe, possibly, just perhaps there’s a reason your editor gets paid the big bucks (and by big bucks, I mean slave wages) to do her job. She has a knack for this sort of thing. Could it be that she’s right? Start to doodle (not in pen, of course, that would be ridiculous!) some notes, potential outlines of what *her* version might look like if the woodsman doesn’t rescue Little Red, if Big Bad turns out to be the real hero of the story. Save the baby, and maybe just *kick* the puppy. Move this to there, and that to…waaaaiit! What’s this? Is this even possible…??? I think it is!
She’s actually right!!!
4) Stop effing around and get to work, this time in permanent marker. This is not a drill, you’re on a deadline after all. Start shredding that manuscript that you once loved like your own child. Show no mercy. Gut it. Eviscerate. Break it down and build it back up.
(During this stage you may need to assign a responsible individual to make sure that your children/pets are fed, you shower on a regular basis, bills are paid, and that you lay/lie down on occasion).
5) After several weeks of living on unsuitable junkfoods and caffeine, you’ve done it. Go ahead, congratulate yourself, you’ve earned it. Write a sappy email to your editor thanking her for helping turn your book into a…*sniff*…go ahead and say it…A MASTERPIECE. Hover over the Send button, relishing the moment, and then proudly jettison your masterpiece off to cyberspace (aka. New York City).
6) Now, sit back and wait anxiously for your editor to read your newly improved work, hoping she’ll like all the changes you’ve made as you begin to fill your tormented writer’s mind with thoughts of: “What if she hates it?”…“Did I interpret her notes right?”…“Should I have really saved the baby?”
No wonder she hates you…