Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Out of the frying pan...

The great news? First round of copy edits are done!

The process wasn't as intimidating as I'd expected once I finally buckled down and did it, but I can understand the trepidation that comes when work is being edited. The top three bits of advice I learned from editing would be:

1. Accept that it's a potential blow to the ego - I'm not one of these people (I've accepted I'm one of those annoying people who shrugs and says, "Duh," when someone points out I'm not perfect), but when I first opened the editing document, my DH looked at it and joked that it would be hard for him to accept all those changes. Translation: I had a lot of red marks on my paper. My DH said this mostly from contrariness (one of his many talents), but it brings up a good point. 

We all want to be good writers, and we live in a culture that expects perfection the first time. If you don't achieve that, become a published best-selling author after working at it for two months and wowing your friends and relatives and perfect strangers with your witty prose, it leaves only two options: either you're deficient, or it's not your fault, which is the excuse I hear used most in today's world. To end the potential discussion on this point, let's just say it is your fault and it's high time you sucked it up and dealt with it.

Now that we're back on topic, realize that getting back a marked-up manuscript you slaved over, spent hours polishing, and was positive was perfect has the potential to let your annoying and overly involved inner-editor to say "I told you so." And then you listen to her because she must have been right. And then you never write another story again. Ever. Don't let the inner-editor win. And if you do, it's your fault.

2. Take your time - So, you plan to spend four hours going through all the edits and approving them. I mean, you wrote the damn book in a flurry of NaNo inspired creativity over the course of 30 days, right? And now that it's finished you can sit down and read it on your computer screen in, like, an hour, right? So, going through edits should be a breeze...

Yeah, that's bullshit.

Plan that for every minute you spend dreaming of the moment you see your book in print, you're going to spend at least an hour editing before the book reaches that stage of transcendent bliss. And no, I'm not overexaggerating. 

You'll sit in front of your copy edits and plan to work on them. Genuinely devote yourself to it. And an hour in, your stomach will growl, so you'll get some food, but you can't edit while you eat, so you get onto Pinterest or Facebook or email or God only knows what else so you can amuse yourself while you eat (quickly, of course), but then something else will catch your attention, so an hour later you'll discover you're researching whether raccoons could mate with macaw parrots and breed little macaroons...

You see how it begins?

Sit your butt in the chair. Edit. Get up. Stretch for one minute. For every minute over one minute, dock yourself ten M&Ms from the ever-present chocolate snacking bowl and watch how quickly you'll return to that chair. 

3. Make sure you have a comfy chair - Just teasing...

The real #3. Trust your editor - He or she is there to make your work be the best it can. It may hurt to change some things or adjust your eloquently repetitive wordiness...ness, but it's worth it in the end when you realize that they cut in half the number of times you used the same stinking word and never caught it. 

And it's awesome when you have a comment where your editor tells you, "Not everyone would know what CoD is. I’m a gamer but let’s use the full name here." I mean, with a comment like that, can life really get any better?

Nope. At least not until Round 2 of edits hits my email.

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