The editing process for Magdalene was unusually smooth–and it’s a good thing, because this was a RUSH project. Before I handed the book in, I’d had help from Terri Gillespie, whom I met at a writing conference in Philly a couple of years ago. Terri and I share a love for Isra’el, and she helped me check out several Hebrew phrases I wanted to use. Best of all, she steered me toward the Jewish Bible, which enabled me to add a truly Jewish flavor to Miryam’s story. After all, Miryam and Yeshua and all his followers were Jewish. Terri was a HUGE help–she read two drafts of the manuscript and help me catch things before the book ever went to my editors. She also opened my Gentile eyes to a couple of things I’d never realized before.
After I handed the book in (on time!) , I received a phone call from Becky Nesbit, the acquiring editor from Tyndale. She told me she liked it. “And?” I asked, bracing for the worst. (I always brace for the worst; it’s instinctive.) “I liked it,” she said again (and I’m paraphrasing). “Dave has some comments, of course, but I thought it was a good story.”
So I figured the really hard-to-swallow stuff would come in my Lambert Letter (Dave is famous for writing lengthy, single-spaced editorial letters. With subheadings.) I was pleasantly surprised to find that Dave only mentioned a few things–issues I’ve already discussed in this blog. Namely–watch the familiar Bible stories and make sure Miryam doesn’t have knowledge beyond her time. I’m sure he mentioned other small things, but those were the two key issues I remember.
After I made Dave’s suggested changes, the book went through copy editing at Tyndale. Lori Popp, the copy editor, sent me an email with several queries–many of which were good catches of small errors. She asked if I really wanted to have Jesus disappear behind a bush (the implication being that he had to relieve himself) after a long day in the sun, and I said yes, I did. I wanted to do this small thing to illustrate that he was fully human as well as fully God. She accepted my reasons and agreed that the situation was handled tactfully. (If you’ll recall, I also quizzed you blog readers about if you’d find the thought objectionable.)
And that was it–the book came through the editing process looking brighter and better without major surgery. That’s not always the case with a manuscript, but it is always a blessing.
P.S. What do you think about the “talking head” above? I’ve gone a little crazy here and on my web pages. I think she’s cute, but I’m worried that she is a little too cutsey . . . what do you think?
Tomorrow: Reader Reaction