"I'm a big fan of editing and keeping only the interesting bits in." Sarah Vowell
I finished up the editing on the galleys of my Rosey Corner book, Small Town Girl, that will be released in July. Publishing a book with a traditional publisher is often a slow and exacting process. I know there are ways now that a writer can write a story and have it in front of the public in days. Maybe hours as they upload to the net and have the story available for download almost immediately. I've been told it's not even that hard once you get a few of the basics down. But I still prefer the traditional publishing route. I like that editors are double checking my stories and making sure my words make sense. Of course, conscientious writers can hire editors to make sure their work is polished before it goes live online. That's always a good idea.
So that's what I did last week. Polished. Corrected. Made my words easier on the readers' eyes. Gave the story a word by word look over to attempt to make it the best it can be. At least, that's the aim and with great editors it has a better chance of happening. Fresh eyes, eyes that haven't been living with the story and reading it over and over can very often note things that a writer misses. Have you ever typed something - a report, an e-mail, or maybe a Facebook comment - and think you've done it without error? You may have even proofed it, but then you hit the send button and all at once a glaring error pops out at you.
That's why it helps to work over the galleys to eliminate those glaring errors. I had one in this book. I changed the name of a character from one paragraph to the next. She was a minor character, but she definitely needed to keep the same name all through her few moments on screen! My copy editor didn't catch that either. But the good thing is that this isn't the final read through. Next out are the pages when the writer watches for typos and little errors. Can't make big changes at this stage, but a wrong name could be changed. Anyway, that's why it's good to dig into the galleys and make sure I've eliminated all the unnecessary words and only kept the interesting parts. You can see in the illustration that I did do some changing. I probably could find things to change until the cows come home, (if you're a farmer, you know getting the cows home isn't always easy.) But then no new stories would get written. So there comes a time when you send it back to the editors and hope you've fixed the things that needed fixing and didn't fix things that didn't need fixing.
With this story, I had my pet word as always. I have worn out a number of pet words. "Just" is still a favorite. And I do love "still." "Of course" popped up in my book before this one. But this time it was "before." What's so wrong with "before?" I wondered that as well, but when you use it four or five times in two or three paragraphs, a pet word has surfaced. So I had to find ways to get rid of a lot of befores. I have found the delete key to be a great aid in editing.
Mr. Ross might be right about this for some books, but I never feel as if the editor and I are quarreling. Not most of the time, anyway. Instead we're working in tandem to make my book the best it can be. I like editors. I even like editing most of the time.
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As always, thanks for reading.