My Dear Canada diary novel, tentatively called Anna Soloniuk’s Spirit Lake Diary, is scheduled for release in 2007 by Scholastic Canada.
Being my usual energizer bunny self, I completed the manuscript a year ahead of time — last fall. In May and June of this year, I did a substantive edit at my editor Sandy’s request, adding approximately 10,000 more words. I just got back the next round of edits, and I am removing approximately 7,000 words.
Now in case you think adding those 10,000 words in the first place was a waste of time, you’d be wrong. I had written to the required word count initially, but my editor’s fabulous suggestions helped enrich and deepen the story line. My challenge is to remove 7,000 words without removing story. I am to use a delicate scalpel.
I love editing above all else. Writing in the first place is hard hard hard. But editing is polishing what’s already there. To be good at it, one must be willing to killing one’s darlings. I’m glad the manuscript has had a chance to cool down. I can do this. I know I can.
Ann’s copyedit of Kobzar’s Children for Fitzhenry & Whiteside is nearly finished. She has done 11 out of the 12 stories. There are still poems, but they don’t require the same sort of copy editing by any stretch of the imagination. This anthology has been a rewarding experience. I am the “editor” which means I selected the stories, organized them into a theme, did the initial substantive edits, and acted as the intermediary between the individual contributors and my editor. I have also selected photographs that compliment the stories. These photos don’t necessarily illustrate the stories, but rather, show a different facet of the same theme brought up in the story. Ditto for the poems. What amazes me is how everything falls into place so beautifully.
This collection is a century of untold Ukrainian stories, starting with a homesteading story set in 1905, and ending with one set during the Orange Revolution in Ukraine last Christmas. Each story and poem in the collection illuminates a facet of the Ukrainian immigrant experience and each stands alone. But what is interesting is that all together, they weave a colourful patchwork whole. Some stories are laugh out loud funny, like Sonja Dunn’s “Changing Graves”. Others are sad, yet filled with a sense of dignity and hope, like Stefan Petelycky’s personal memoir about his time in Auschwitz, called “Many Circles of Hell.”
The reason I wanted to do this anthology is because I have been getting lonely, being one of the few people in North America who write YA and children’s lit about the Ukrainian immigrant experience. This anthology is my exercise in mentoring some promising new writers while showcasing some seasoned but lesser-known ones. Little did I know when I plunged in that being the editor of a collection like this would be more time-consuming than writing TWO novels! Ah well, it is worth it!