Sunday, May 5, 2013

A Final "Take" to Make the Book a "Wrap"

"Truth is, every writer has to be a good editor, and you have to edit yourself. It is a skill every writer has to acquires." ~Lisa Scottoline
Got the pages for my Christmas novel last week for one more read through. Someday I'm going to keep count of how many times I read through a story before it finally gets into the hands of readers. Maybe I can't count that high! :). No, not that many times, but I do read it numerous times. I've probably read completely through a story I've written at least five times before I mail it off to the publishers. Maybe more. That doesn't count the times I read individual scene or chapters or the times I read it after the story is in the editing stage before being published. A person can't see what needs editing if a person doesn't look for it.
I don't mind editing. Well, most of the time. There have been occasions where the requested edits took some thought and seemed difficult on first look. A few times, they looked difficult on second look!! But it got done. There are other times like this particular read through on my Shaker Christmas book that there are no real changes to make, just little glitches to perhaps catch before the book is printed. I caught one of those on page one of this book. At this stage, it's too late for major edits. I had plenty of chances for that in all those read throughs earlier on.
But it is amazing how, no matter how carefully you read, a few things will slip past you. An 'it' will be written as 'if' or vice versa. Even the most careful editing eye lets little things like that slip past from time to time.
But once I've done these last edits on Christmas at Harmony Hill, I'll be ready to rush toward the end of my work in progress. I'm thinking positive on that rush toward the end. My deadline is not that many weeks away with lots of busyness going on other than writing scheduled into those weeks. Prayers appreciated.
But now, just for fun, here's the first paragraph of Sister Sophrena showing up in this story. I really liked Sister Sophrena. She was the journal writer in The Gifted. It was such fun letting her come back to be one of my headline characters in this Christmas story. I do hope the lady I met a few years ago named Sophrenia at the Redbud Festival will see the stories. I told her when I met her that someday I'd name a character after her. I did change the spelling slightly. 
    Sophrena Prescott arose from bed at the first toll of the Shaker rising bell the way she had for the last twenty-five years. Habits clung to her like lint to a dark cloak. The other sisters in the room were also getting out of bed at the sound of the bell.
    Time to be up and the day to begin. Chores awaited. Beds to make. Floors to sweep. Biscuits to cook. She had kitchen duty. Not a bad duty for November when the warmth of the ovens was welcome instead of suffocating the way it was in the summer months. ....
   Forgive me, Lord. She pushed the words silently toward the heavenly Father. Truly the most sincere prayer words she'd offered in days.
That's a final "take" as the movie directors say. But it's hard to say how many "takes" it took me to get to this "wrap."  
Does it bother you when you're reading if you notice mistakes? Do you think it possible to catch every mistake is this day and age? What kind of writing mistakes and editing misses bother you the most?
Thanks for reading! 


  1. No it doesnt bother me to find mistakes, if they are not too numerous. I attribute them to our human condition. I am always a little surpised to see them, as I know how many times reviews of the material happen (as you point out). Too many mistakes however indicate sloppy editing to me, or a book thats been digitally scanned! (I dont like those at all). It does strike me though that it would be a little disconcerting to be in the unusual position that you are, where you are still working on something thats already for sale in the online book stores. Talk about a deadline!

    1. I'm surprised too, Kevin, because a book is read numerous times at most traditional publishing houses before it makes it to a store's shelf. Not only does the writer have the opportunity to read and edit her book, but the editors and copy-editors and some proofers go over it several times. But as you say, to err is human. And although the book is on sale online it is for pre-sales. It's like reserving a copy so that when the book becomes available, you'll get one of the first copies out the door. I don't think a person's account is charged until the book is sent, but I could be wrong about that.

  2. Ann, thanks for sharing. Since to err is human, I usually don't mind unless there are so many I grind my teeth) but when the heroine is shown to have black hair yet described as a marvelous red headed...
    Then there is the covers: models not befitting the description, too modern for the plotline or wearing makeup when listed as Amish, etc...I was told the choice is the publisher's, not the author's, is this so?
    God bless,

    1. I just told Kevin to err is human. We must be on the same wave length, Noelle. I certainly agree with you about how disturbing it is to have the cover not match the characters. Some publishers are better about striving to have a cover that represents the story than others. I also agree about the problem of having the models look too modern and made-up. That's something I've discussed with my publishers because of a certainty, Shakers didn't wear lipstick. But the publishers say the girl has to look attractive and although the blush or color is subdued, they feel it's necessary. So yes, the final choice is the publisher's in most case. Perhaps not all, but most of the time.

  3. I love the way you write, I can hear the bell and see the women rising to start their day..what a gifted writer you are. I enjoyed reading the shaker stories so will be looking for this one when it comes out.
    Paula O

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Paula. Hope you will enjoy the story when it comes out. I have to admit that the final scene touched me when I read it over while editing today, so I'm hoping readers will like it too.


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