Sunday, February 17, 2013

Editing Down to the Interesting Bits



"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.
"Editing is the same as quarreling with writers - same thing exactly." Harold Ross
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.
Remember I'll be drawing three winners in a couple of weeks for my blog giveaway. Enter by leaving a comment here or on Jocie's Hollyhill blog, www.hollyhillbookofthestrange.blogspot.com.  One entry per comment on different posts.
Watch for my newsletter. Hope to get one sent out next week with details about a giveaway to celebrate Scent of Lilacs being available again. Thinking something lilac color. If you're not signed up for the newsletter, that easy to do. Just go to my website and click on the newsletter link.
As always, thanks for reading.

12 comments:

  1. This was very interesting ,I had no idea all this went into writing these wonderful books !

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    1. Most people are interested in the process of getting a book out on the market. I've written about editing galleys before on here. Probably said some of the same things. I did search for galleys in my search bar here on the blog to be sure it had been a while since I'd talked about galleys. Thanks so much for reading and for commenting.

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  2. Hi.. I am so glad I read this, thank you !!!!!!!! it is very very interesting !!!!!!!!!!! I read a series of 3 ebooks, and the 2nd ebook had so many mistakes that I found. I honestly didn't know what to do, however, I did email the author just to bring it to her attention. I don't know if that was the right thing to do, I did apologize to her, but I wanted her to know exactly what was seen when reading her books.. only a couple of mistakes in the 3rd book.. After reading this, I now understand that it had to be the people that put it in ebook format.. sad, she did a great job on the series.. anyway, thank you for bring this to our attention...just, if you can, tell me the correct route to go when it happens again please.. thanks so much for the insight !!

    Rosemary Foley rfoley@salemstate.edu

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    1. I think it's fine to contact the author as long as you're nice about it. I can tell you thought she didn't know there were typos, etc. Sometimes with e-books, the formatting is tricky. But whether it was a formatting problem or oversight by the author, she obviously benefited from your input by keeping the next book mostly mistake free. You can also contact the publisher if you feel more comfortable doing that. When my books had the printing errors, two readers contacted me and then I contacted the publisher. So I don't know if there is a correct route or not. Just do what you think best - with kindness and understanding that we all make mistakes.

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  3. I'm very interested in reading this book.. Would love to have it. Great review on it. Thanks for the chance in the giveaway to win.
    Blessings
    joeym11@frontier.com

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    1. Thanks for you comment, Diana. I'll enter you in the giveaway. Good luck!

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  4. I WOULD LIKE TO TRY YOUR BOOK. YOU ARE A NEW AUTHER TO ME.THANKS FOR THE GIVEAWAY! SHELLEY S.calicolady60@hotmail.com

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    1. Hope you will try one of my books sometime, Shelley. Maybe you'll have luck in this drawing. Thanks for entering.

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  5. I can see where you're coming from Ann. I find quite a few errors when I am reading books. But, with our long, enjoyable books, it's bound to happen at times. And, I know what you mean about comments online. I love the ones where you can edit. I'm not the best at typing anyway, but hate when I make errors. I always try to edit, but sometimes still miss something and as soon as it's too late, first thing I see is the mistake. I have learned from you authors how much more time is needed to get a book ready to put out here. Just keep up the good work. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

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    1. It's so easy to read over those typos, Maxie. I don't worry too much about the ones on Facebook. I think of that as conversation with friends and we all mess up and say the wrong word now and again while we're talking. But I do hate it when a mistake gets by me in one of my books.

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  6. Hi Ann, I'm one of those who finds typos in books! Sometimes I have even found the name thing where the character is one name then inadvertently becomes some other name on down the page! I think it comes from my doing transcription for an Education Consultant. You had to be very careful 'cause you could easily change a diagnosis! If the book is interesting it really isn't that big of a deal but it speaks to your quality writing that you are so thorough! Have a blessed week! Linda

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    1. I've read books where the names changed too and I have to admit it bothered me. But misspellings and typos bother me too. In one of my books, an edit got left out inadvertently and the scene ended up sounding really strange. The bad part was it looked like I'd just messed up when I really hadn't. At least not that time. I've had readers point out other times when they thought I hadn't edited well enough. And I guess I hadn't for them.

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Thanks for joining the conversation. I like hearing what you have to say. Thanks for dropping by.