If at first you don’t succeed…edit, edit again!

by | Mar 18, 2015 | The Lady Bornekova

Back to blogging about writing…

Hand with scissors cutting bookI am knee deep into editing (for like the millionth time) The Lady Bornekova. But this edit is waaaay different than any I’ve gone through so far. My first edits were done based on my own ability (and my computer/word processor’s ability) to catch grammatical errors as well as content errors. Then, as you already know if you’ve been keeping up with this blog, my beta readers (woot, woot!) got involved. They gave me more grammatical feedback as well as logistical and content questions that I was too close to the work to see. A box of tissues later, I thought I had some quite polished work. Next up…my sweet friend who is a proofreader/copy-editor who went through the work and found even more. What!?! But I was thankful. Now, surely my work is ready for querying.

And, as you’ve been reading, you know that I got it back with a request to resubmit after I made some minor edits to chapter one. Scrambling for one of my beta readers, a trusted friend (who had “fresh eyes” on the work), and my proofreader/copy-editor friend….they put their stamp of approval on the changes I made and helped with some edits too.

How many rounds of editing are we up to by now?

Well, then I joined a Writer’s Group and was directed to some great writing resources, namely The Emotion Thesaurus and Rivet Your Readers With Deep Point of View (both excellent books). But, as I read, I learned that my writing needed some serious polishing. So, I need more edits done to all 5 books….don’t panic, Sara, one book at a time, one chapter at a time.

Then The Lady Bornekova gets accepted for publication. Whew! That one’s off my plate…now an editor will take over. I should be so lucky. Next my publisher asks me to go back through, with some suggestions, for what she calls “Pre-editing”. And my goodness, these suggestions require some serious editing. Taking out words (some of these words are not such an issue, some, such as “that” are a little more difficult). And what the heck is wrong with the word “smiled” anyway? I think it’s a perfectly fine word. 🙂 Yes, yes, I know…it’s over-used and leads to telling not showing…

Some of the editing is meticulous…”make sure every sentence in every paragraph starts with a different word”. Wow! That’s going to take more than a few minutes. I’m a pretty fast reader and, so far, I’m averaging a chapter every hour and half as I comb through with this list of pre-editing suggestions.

But, it’s a good problem to have, I know. I’m really not trying to complain. I’m trying to express to anyone who is new to the writing process (as I am) that editing is a part of life. And it’s not necessarily a fun part of a writer’s life. It’s painful at times, it’s grueling…it’s time-consuming. As you probably know already, I have limited time to work on my art in the midst of my daily life with kids and home and responsibilities. I’d rather spend that time writing on my work in progress, not checking for overuse of pronouns. But, I know that if I can do these sorts of edits, it allows my publishers editor to go really deep…oops…to go reallydeeper. (“Really” is one of those words I’m supposed to eliminate.) My participation in this part of the process will also make me a better writer. You better believe I’m going to make these adjustments on the front end rather than wait to go back through the novel for the upteenth time.

So, with that, I’ll say “happy writing!”

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Sara R. Turnquist