The publishing house’s edits came last Tuesday. Yes, last Tuesday. I read the e-mail from the publisher which gave general directions on how to proceed in the editing process and then gave praise. The editor said: “Wow… this author is freakin’ fabulous!” Made my morning. I went to work in the best mood.
Then, I had to decide when to look at the edits. I have been on such a roll writing the sequel that I didn’t want to switch gears right away. I decided to get book 2 to a good stopping point. I didn’t want to stop in the middle of an action sequence or while I was building tension. I didn’t want to come back and have to reread to try to find that inspiration again. So, I gave myself a deadline. I said that I would write either 25 pages more or complete the current chapter because the story would totally change pace after the occurring events.
But let me tell you how tempting it was to break open those edits. I kept gazing at the e-mail all week, like hmm… just a little peek. But I resisted, because I know me. I would open the attachments and be a No Limit Editing Soldier on book 1 for the next week or so and lose my stride on book 2.
So today, I got to my perfect stopping place in book 2 and cracked open my edits. The first attachment was just a generalized one-pager with overall notes about being careful of word repetitions and overuse of ellipses, em-dashes and dialect. However, there was a special emphasis on the dialect suggestion to let me know that it was only an opinion. So, then I had to think about just how much dialect to change if it isn’t crucial.
So, after I let all that sink in, I opened the actual story with the track changes in it. The notes in the suggestion column are easy to follow, and there are even some compliments tossed in there. The editor offers suggestions for word repetitions and does a good job eliminating unnecessary words.
I look over and see that while my document’s 94,000 words there are only like 1700 revisions throughout the whole piece. So, I’m like okay, that’s really cool. I’ve heard stories where people say an editor ripped their work to shreds, but here it’s not so. I like the usage of overall suggestions and I love the grammatical advice. Sometimes you just don’t notice lazy habits until someone points them out.
I want to give a shout out to everyone who has ever critiqued or just read through The Fourth Piece. It was a clean manuscript before submission and it’s all because of my unpaid friends and editors. That being said, no matter how clean you think your work is, there’s always stuff that can be better… and always a typo.
Going through the edits and accepting or revising changes and justifying leaving something the same is fun. The only pain now is Microsoft Word. The more comments that are left in a document, the slower the program moves. Grrr…
But it’s okay. I’m making pretty good progress. I think I can have this done in a week, and then I’ll wait and see what happens next!
Oh, and as for the sequel, I reached 115 pages in a month. Hopefully I can get this draft done before my birthday in April. How awesome would that be? Then I’d start… book 3. That’s kind of scary to think about. Book 3 is the end of the main story–a story I’ve wanted to tell since 6th grade.
Sniff, sniff, my baby is growing up.
Thanks for reading my rambles. Until next time!
Congrats on getting those edits back! I just got mine the other day, and looking through them has been quite the journey.
I feel you on the dialect. All my point of view characters have various states of dialect, and my editor’s been helping me find just the right level between representing it accurately and keeping certain grammatical points consistent with what’s considered proper. For example, in my town, people frequently say things like “He’d of done that.” We agreed that while that’s the most accurate, the improper use of “of” would grate too much, and so my characters will say “He’d’ve” in dialogue and “He would’ve” if it’s just their thoughts (it’s all first-person). What dialect are you using?
Good look going through them!
It’s set in Houston, Texas. And everybody knows we Texans know how to talk right but we don’t always show others that we know. So, sometimes my characters say “shoulda, coulda, woulda, wanna, gonna, gotta, oughta” and I’ll spell out sounds, like instead of “a” for certain characters I’d write “uh”. For example. “Gimme ‘uh coupla’ minutes.”
I agree that reading that gets tiring and once you understand that some characters have an accent, you get the point. So, I’m toning it down and only using it when truly necessary. But nothing will make me lose the “gonna, wanna, gotta”. And what I like is that no one is truly insisting that I do, it’s just a suggestion that I’m taking most of the way through.
I’m almost done with my first go-through. I’m accepting the changes I like, doing some rephrasing of stuff I don’t, and then I’ll go back through and make the small changes. Then, I’ll go through and check that I’ve done everything I was supposed to and it looks right.
Good luck to you as well! Take care!