In Others' WordsIn Others' Words

Thursday, June 23, 2011

In My Words: Editing the Editor

I just finished working through the fine line edits and other changes to my novel for what my editor called "clarity and consistency." Since I'm used to being the one wielding the red pen--hence my nickname The Evil Editor (TEE)--it was odd to be on the receiving end of edits. The experience wasn't bad--it was just different.

My editor started off by encouraging me and telling me what she liked about my manuscript. How could I not be willing to at least consider her suggestions for improving my story? And, truth be told, she had some great insights that strengthened my book.

How did I approach making the changes? I broke the job down into phases:

  1. Read through the entire manuscript: I wanted an overview of the suggested changes so that I could mull over potential rewrites while I worked on other things.
  2. Deal with the line edits first: Why not start with the simple changes first? It was easy to correct things like a missing period or removing an unnecessary comma or italicizing a sentence. After making the corrections, I read through the manuscript again to make certain I hadn't overlooked anything. (I had.)
  3. Concentrate on improving clarity and consistency: This phase took more time and mental energy because it involved rewriting small segments of the book or writing some new scenes. I'm not talking pages and pages of rewrites, but I wanted to make certain that what I wrote fit into the book without a hiccup.
  4. Check formatting: This felt like I was going behind the scenes of my manuscript. I hit the little paragraph symbol on my toolbar and voila! I could see all the extra spaces and unneeded tabs. With my husband's help, I spent two, maybe three hours cleaning up my formatting. 
So what's next? It's time to push the Send button and return my manuscript to my editor. Then it's fun and games with a photographer while I update my professional photo. (Oh, yes, there will be a blog post about this!) And I know I'll be seeing my manuscript again--with more edits. 

In Your Words: Have you had the chance to work with an editor? How did you approach working through any suggestions or needed changes? 

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At 4:27 AM, Anonymous Tonya said...

I can't wait to see the new picture! What fun that will be, uh? I hope your edits continue to go smoothly.

At 7:57 AM, Blogger Wendy Paine Miller said...

I edit in a similar way to you, following your steps.

Going through it now.

It always cracks me up when people say to do the first read through making minimal changes...yeah right, I'm a notetaking fool that first read through.

I've worked with dear friends and mentors who have had editing roles. I love feedback and insight, and turn it in my brain to find solutions.
~ Wendy

At 8:59 AM, Blogger Beth K. Vogt said...

Tonya, I'm bringing two of my daughters to the photo session. I hate having a camera pointed at me--I freeze up. I'm hoping they'll make me laugh.

And Wendy, getting feedback is such an invaluable thing, especially when it's done right. I'm not a fan of snarky, all-negative feedback. But constructive, encouraging criticism--that I can work with!

At 11:04 AM, Blogger Jeanne T said...

Love your thoughts on editing, and it's fun to hear an editor's perspective on edits. :) In the few opportunities when I have "been edited," I have tried to keep a teachable spirit and learn from the suggestions and encouragements. I know I have lots to learn, and I'm thankful for those who are willing to teach me. Thanks for sharing your steps in working through edits, Beth!

At 4:12 PM, Blogger Beth K. Vogt said...

A teachable spirit--absolutely necessary for someone being edited, Jeanne!

At 11:45 PM, Blogger Sonia said...

You could always bring Meghan on the photo shoot with you. I know she's always making you laugh. On second thought, since it's usually the "I can't believe you just said that" laugh that is laced with the look of shock and disbelief, it's probably best she's not there. I don't think that's the look you're going for!


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