My days have included LOTS of editing lately. I hired an amazing editor named Dascha Paylor (who writes, too!), and I’ve slowly been working through her edits.
She suggested that I cut my chapters in half, as they were on the long side for YA. I also added some world building and character development to the beginning. So I have 35 chapters now (sheesh!). It takes me about 2 hours to edit each one. I am over halfway, but I can only do one or two a day!
Here is my book editing process.
First, I go through and line edit it for myself. I read it out loud during this time, and it is pretty much re-writing the book.
Then I send my manuscript to my best friend of 17 years, who reads it and tells me if anything sounds weird. People say not to send your books to your friends, but she doesn’t hold back the criticism!
I fix her comments, and I spend a couple months getting rejected, thinking my manuscript is fine.
I hire an editor. I really lucked out!
Now, I take the editor’s line edits and go through every single page again—rewriting and rewording.
When I finish each chapter, I use the “find” tool to search for “felt”, “seem”, “analyze”, “wonder”, “had”, “have”, “was”, “because”, and “were” and replace those words (maybe leaving two or three here or there) with active words. This is where my prose really starts to shine.
Then I reward myself with a glass of wine or some popcorn.
I think editing can be a creative process. I think I grow as a writer much more so when I edit than when I write.
If anyone else feels like editing is endless, you’re not alone! But every little step gets you closer to your goal! I’m so excited at the prospect of having this manuscript finished (again… for real this time).
Editing Books that Will Save Your Life
Self Editing for Fiction Writers by Rennie Brown
The Editor’s Companion by Steve Dunham
What Editors Do by Peter Ginna
The Elements of Style by Strunk and White (this is a serious must)
Save the Cat! by Jessica Brody