From author Lydia Netzer, whose first novel, Shine Shine Shine, is forthcoming from St. Martin’s Press in summer of 2012:
I spent over ten years writing my novel. There was a lot of self-editing that happened during those ten years. From tweaking sentences to throwing out chapters and even whole drafts, I edited pretty constantly as I went along. I edited based on my own opinions, and based on suggestions from my critique group. I edited when Susannah told me on an early draft, “No, this isn’t right. You haven’t got it yet.”
. . . .
Lots of people have asked me how much influence my agent and editor had on my book, and if that bothered or upset me. The answer is that they had a lot of influence, and all of it was good in the end, and none of it ultimately bothered me. There were changes that made me hesitate, and some that I thought might be impossible. I had decided that I was not going to be some sort of annoying prima donna. I told myself that I was going to be a good girl and not argue, and that I would take every suggestion and try and make it work in the book. There was only one suggestion that I could not find a way to do. All the rest of them made the book better, I strongly feel. So when I look at the book I don’t see my darling book underneath the mean changes and ugly edits forced on me by other people. I see a book that’s so much better than it was a year ago, I hardly recognize it.
. . . .
Beautiful agent wrote the pitch letter (It’s like Eat, Pray, Love, but in SPACE!!!) and compiled a list of editors. On April 26, she started pitching it, and in a couple of weeks we had a deal. And an editor. You may notice that the word “edit” is prominently featured in the title “editor.” Unsurprisingly, my adorable editor had a list of things she wanted tweaked and twirled in the book. One character was to have a much larger role. One subplot was to get a much more complete treatment. We talked about the edits on the phone, and I pondered and toiled over them in the manuscript.
. . . .
No novel falls perfectly from a writer’s head. Mine has maybe been through more changes and permutations than most. But when the cover goes on and the pages get numbered and the release date finally comes, there aren’t going to be any more chances to fix it. This is my chance to make the book as perfect as possible, and I’m taking every opportunity I get.
Link to the rest at Lydia Netzer