This week has been crazy. My day job, which is actually been 3:30pm-midnight this week, has been nuts. I’m learning so much, which is great. But the changes have been immense. First the class was 3 weeks, then one week, now it’s one week class and one week of on the floor work, with people there to guide us. I’m not complaining, but it’s a lot to take in. It makes the head spin. Spin I say. It’s a lot like editing. There’s a lot to do– lots of different things and you need to organize how you do it, otherwise, you’ll feel lost and confused. Which is why it’s important to have a great relationship with your editor. I’m going to be honest here– I go to my editors and ask them what they like, don’t like, what they read, etc. I’m nosy. I’m wanting to know what they prefer in their reading and what they like to edit. Then I’m going to ask how they edit books and what I prefer when they edit my books. Why? Because I want this process to go smoothly. Because of that– I’m HONEST. I don’t diva, I don’t say I’m perfect– I tell them upfront- I’m too close to my work and I hate getting edits. Not that I hate to do editing, but that by then, my brain has gone to another story and going back makes me think I failed. Like I said, I’m honest. I warn them that I have a tendency toward repetition– the result of ADD and because of the joy of threes. Only thing is, I can’t always remember if I hinted at things three times or not, so I tend to overdo. I also tend to over explain things in my books. I try to root it out before my editor gets it, but I warn her that it might be there. I also tell her– if you see a word that needs to be changed– go for it. Change it. Change the sentence if it’s awkward– I honestly don’t care at this point. Why? Because I’m too close and I’ll look at it and go, “But it makes PERFECT sense!” (I’m not joking here. This is why I have people who I write in IM with at times and when I think something is iffy, I’ll ask them.) When you have great communication with your editor, you trust them so you can do this. With my editors– I’ve built up this trust. In fact, my editor for Pirate Queen is absolutely fantastic. (Okay, I must admit the admin at Loose Id is abfab
too! But that’s another story. LOL)
My editor and I are a team. We’re working on reducing the story, making it more cohesive, tightening the scenes, and getting rid of excessive verbiage. She did a lot of work. I let her change words around, shift sentences, delete scenes, and more. She told me where and why. I had to approve it all. But the thing is– I knew this when she started edits it was one of the things we were looking at. So, when my edits arrived, she sent me this awesome email on what to expect when I opened it up. So, no panic attacks, no “OMG, look at all the red stuff!” For me, it was more of, “Let’s get this puppy moving, I’ve got another story to finish.” So, because our connection, I did what I always do, I accepted the stuff I needed to accept, then started working through the deletion cycle.
The deletion cycle is everything that needs to be deleted. Scenes, extra words, awkward sentences needing to be fixed– those all get deleted and dealt with in order. It takes time and honestly, I’m fine with the process. Sometimes, there might be a great scene that I like– I’ll make note of it in my personal copy to put on my website. It’ll be one of those “deleted scenes” for the readers. 😀 Once those are all done, I go back and work through each comment individually. That takes the most time. It’s also the hardest at times because I might need to condense a scene, shift something into a different POV, or create a new scene into an area. Either way, it takes time.
Now, I will say this, because of my trust in my editor– I accept all changes off the bat in my manuscript with her. But that’s once I change the name of it when I have it opened. Why? So I can do a compare once I’m done. I have a slight Obsessive Compulsive thing– I NEED my manuscript neat. NEED. The strikethroughs drive me batty. Absolutely, without a doubt through the roof, crazy insane. If you seen Stargate SG-1, Window of Opportunity episode– yeah. That’s me–crazy. I can’t handle working in a manuscript with all that mess. Plus, it makes it harder for me to know what I need to work on. So, I accept all my changes and start there. It makes it clean, fresh and easier
to handle. But again– I have a GREAT relationship with my editor and she works with me completely. She knows my foibles and how whimpery I get when there’s stuff everywhere. In fact, she knows how I hate to leave her comments when I do my edits. To me, it’s a sign of messiness and that I ignored her. So, I delete them as I do the work she asked, but I leave everything I do in a lovely colour for her to accept. It’s taken time to get to where we are. But it works. Sometimes, I leave her notes. It’s fun.
I mentioned that I do a compare afterwards. I do. Why? Because this is where my OCS comes into play. Even where my editor might not touch something– that it is beautiful and lovely– I will read through and make changes. Why? Simple. I’m a perfectionist. LOL I will catch a “had”, “that”, “have”, “would”, or other passive words I thought I removed but didn’t. Thus, off they must go! Plus, I might catch something in passing that neither of us did– and it needs to be fixed. 😆 It’s happened occasionally. So, I get it done and note it for her. Plus, sometimes she catches continuity stuff, sometimes I do. It’s how we work it. It’s a beautiful system we’ve created and I’ve learned that sometimes going through that second and third time– and comparing– it catches something I missed earlier. Sometimes, it shows me I’ve got it all and there’s nothing to worry about. Either way, I’m good to go. Anything to make the next round of edits to go quick and simple. I make no bones about it– I do not like editing. Not because of the process. I always want to better my writing, but because my ADD and I agree– there are other books to be done now and this one is finished. It needs to go– NOW. Thus, I get cranky. LOL
Great editors make you better. They help you to see how you can reword things. They pat you on the back when you turn a great sentence. (My editors do that and I love them for it.) They call you out when you muck up. (Mine are funny on it and I laugh. They’re on the ball. I love it.) More importantly, editors help you to write better when you write the next story. T
hey are teaching you to embed better writing habits for the next time out. My goal is always to write clean. I make no bones about this. Will it ever happen? Probably not. But it’s my goal. So, I take my editor’s points to heart. If I disagree with something, it’s not usually the grammar point itself– it’s specific to the book moment. But I always will take that grammar help within to work into my writing.
My writing buddy, Dawn Montgomery smacks me when I write passive. My other buddy, Selena Illyria gets on my case when I forget proper use of the senses. I take what they say and imbed it into my writing as much as possible to write cleanly. I get better as time goes on. You can get that way too. Sometimes I post the “phrase of the book” on my monitor. Usually, there will be a pet phrase that creeps in and I have to remind myself to NOT use it for everyone. One character uses it and that’s it. Otherwise, out it goes. That is something I learned from Lena Austin. These are important things to me. So, I try to obey them every time I write. You make your list, then post it somewhere you can see it when you write. It’ll help slide that information deep inside until it becomes a habit. Once it does, you’ll notice a difference in your writing. There will be a crispness about it. It’ll flow and be cleaner than before. Learn from your editor. Learn from your critique partners. It’s important. Writing cleanly and learning to import that into your mind is huge. I hate rewriting, I hate doing massive editing, so for me, it’s a matter of policy to get it correct quickly. For you, it might take time, but once you do, you might find a joy you didn’t realize you needed until things ease up suddenly and you have less edits. Then you can smile– you have become friends with your editor– and you’ve started doing some cleaning in your own mind and writing to help them and yourself out.
ROW80 Update: I’ve edited over 55 pages of PQR, I’ve written 1k this week. I’ve done 2 chapters of scene cards. I’ve learned 2 weeks worth of work in 4 days. LOL I think that deserves extra credit. 😯 So far, so good on things. I need to get PQR finished this week. Once that’s done, it’s back to the Christmas story. YAY! To me, that’s my goal. Get my edits done so I can go back to my other story so I can make my editor work more. LOL Actually she’s happy about the thought and honestly, so am I. It’ll be good. Plus, I got my research for my Dark Crystal story. *rubs hands together* Yes, my precious crystal–you and me will be indulging in some SERIOUS research and reading at work this week. This week at work– read the DC stuff so I can get ideas for my DC story. That is the master plan there. See, not too much overall. Edits, Dark Crystal reading. Once those are accomplished– we’ll move forward.