Journeys in Editing

This week, I completed another round of editing with for my upcoming YA fantasy adventure book, Prince of the Sun, Princess of the Moon.  It was such a pleasant process and a bit different from the last book I released with a publisher. So I thought I’d give a brief overview of the different types of editing you have to undergo when you get traditionally published.

Pre-Edits

This process is something I went through with both of my traditionally published books. Basically, it’s conforming the manuscript to the publisher’s specific formatting requirements–such as having only one space after a period, or all numbers should be written out, or the removal of certain words the publisher doesn’t like. Doing all this first saves time later.

It’s a bit of a tedious process, and I found out I use the word “that” more than I should. But it also tightens up the manuscript. All told, not to bad. But it took a longer time than I thought it would.

Content Edits

This is where the editor goes through and suggests changes to your manuscript. With my first book, Lucas, Guardian of Truth, my editor suggested removing a large chunk of my story and revise some of the character interactions. I did so, and it made the story so much better. This time around the content editing was minimal.

This is the process that can be a little hard for a writer to bear. Your editor will take a good look at your story and be brutally honest about what needs to be changed. However, all the editors I’ve ever worked with are so supportive that even when major changes were suggested, I felt comfortable accepting their criticisms. And it helps to remember that they want your story to work as much as you do. In the end, though, the decision was mine to make.

Line Edits

Prince of the Sun, Princess of the Moon is the first time I’ve worked with a line editor, and all I have to say is, “Where have you been all my life?” From my understanding, the line editor is the typo catcher. Mine caught grammar mistakes, awkward sentences, missing words, and things like that. It was a pleasure to work with her.

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So that’s my journey into editing so far. I am waiting on my release date, the book cover, and everything else, but I’ll keep you posted on all that.

-*heart* M.R. Anglin

 

Useless Words

As I mentioned last week, I signed a contract with a book publisher for one of my manuscripts. This week, the editor had me run through pre-edits. It’s a list of items that all authors must comply with before they get into the editing process.

What an eye opener!

Two things I learned by going through this process: 1. I am a much better writer than I was when I finished that manuscript. 2. Useless words can plague a manuscript.

One of the items they sent me was a list of words they wanted cut. Can I tell you, you don’t know how much you use a particular word until you’re asked to remove it.

By the time I finished, I had cut a total of 1,913 words of useless words, phrases, and sentences–which doesn’t sound like much, until you consider that’s approximately 8 double spaced, 1″ margin-ed pages. Yes, *8*! YIKES!

Now, I consider myself a good writer, but I was astonished at how many overused words crept into my writing.

So take the time to cut those insipid words and phrases from your manuscript. Is there a phrase you’ve repeated a lot? Try to find a way to re-write them. And don’t be afraid if page after page winds up on the cutting room floor. Your manuscript will be better for it.

-*heart* M.R. Anglin

The Author’s Responsibility

Today’s tip is brought to you by Rachelle Gardner’s blog. She is a literary agent that writes a blog to help writers traverse the publishing world. It’s interesting stuff.

The blog entry I’m talking about today is about the importance of mastering the craft of writing.

To summarize the entry, she believes that publishers are starting to spend less and less time on pre-publication editing, and so producing a quality manuscript will be increasingly left to the writer. In other words, it’s more important than ever for you to learn the writing rules and use them (and at times, break them) well. If not, readers will be less likely to read your work or recommend them to their friends. This goes for those who are traditionally published as well as those who self-publish.

I believe that the biggest mistake many new and aspiring writers make is not spending enough time revising. The first draft is not the end of it. You have to go back and revise and revise and revise to make sure your writing shines.

I suppose that is why you are visiting the tips on this page, but I don’t think this is enough for most people. If you can take a writing class, take it. Look in your city; perhaps you can take a free class at the community center (I did that once). In fact, I took writing classes in college, online, and at a community center. Do what it takes to keep learning.

According to this agent, it may be increasingly your responsibility to make sure your work is the best it can be.

Do you have a question about the way the publishing community is changing? Do you like or hate those changes?