Monday, March 18, 2013

Editing Time

by Amanda Forester

It's that time of year.  No, not Spring, honestly I've been living in my cave so long I'm not sure the year, let alone the season, I'm taking about edits.  A few months ago, I completed a manuscript and sent it to Sourcebooks with a sense of relief and a strong desire never to see it again (that writing part gets a little intense when up against a deadline).

Now my precious manuscript has come back around for editing and I have welcomed her home like the prodigal son.  And much like the prodigal son I realize I have some work to do.  When I read my editing notes I discovered that apparently my characters collapsed into chairs over FIFTY times!  I had no idea my characters were so unstable!
Editing.  So important.  Despite the fact that I read and re-read and re-read everything before I send it out the door, there is no way I can catch every mistake.  Like my poor collapsing characters, I don't always see what is painfully obvious.  I know what I meant to say, so I read it the way I intended,  not necessarily the way I wrote it.  This occasionally leads to grammatical errors, leaving out small words, plot problems, and yes, even collapsing characters.   These errors may seem minor, but let's face it, one clunky sentence and readers are switching to angry birds, sometimes without even putting down their mobile device.
It is interesting to me that the process of writing is completely different for me than the process of editing.  When I am writing I want to turn off that internal editor and let the words flow (or shall we say 'collapse') on the page.  When I am in editing mode, I need to be the angry school marm smacking grammatical errors and awkward sentences with a ruler and shaming them into the corner.
As I beat my next manuscript into submission, I take some comfort in the thought that once the pain of editing is complete, my shiny new manuscript will someday be polished enough to turn into a real live book.  My next book, A Wedding in Springtime, will be released in May.  Don't you love the cover?  Oh yes, it is all worth it!

17 comments:

  1. Amanda, your cover is gorgeous! Sourcebooks does give us the most brilliant covers.

    Editing. A necessary evil. I found in X MARKS THE SCOT that originally my heroine's mother was in France. Yep, a few pages later I realized she died when my heroine was young. Oops. I think sometimes our fingers type faster than our brain catches up. ;-)

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  2. I DO love that cover. It's a departure from your usual. Very nice!

    I am working on a draft right now, and it seems like my characters slide a lot. His fingers slid, her hands slid, his mouth slid. Wow. Need some synonyms...

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  3. Trust me, you haven't missed anything weather-wise. It's still winter. :-(
    My critique partners find a lot of those repetitions in my manuscripts, but another pair of eyes always helps. Have fun making your characters more stable!
    Love the cover!

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  4. Super, Amanda, and I have to say your cover is gorgeous! And it looks like they are collapsing...*evil laugh* Congrats on the upcoming release!!

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  5. Amanda,
    The cover is lovely!

    If it makes you feel any better, my characters were catching their breath so often in one manuscript I sent in, you would think they had asthma. LOL. It's funny how we seem to get stuck on one physical reaction, and for me, it's different with every book. And you're right about not seeing it when you're writing or even re-reading it for the fiftieth time. It's not until I get a little distance that things jump out at me.

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  6. Guilty of "tipping her chin up with his fist" too many times in the last one. And we won't talk about the duck waddling up the stairs...I'd bought the wrong vowel and used an i instead of a u...
    LOVELY cover and I bet what lies between the covers is perfect when you get done with edits!

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  7. Carolyn, only you could make a duck with an "i" waddle up stairs. It's a cowboy thing, right???

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  8. Terry, it's really a redneck thing...spellcheck recognized it as a word and presto there it was for Deb to read...and giggle...and giggle...and giggle about! Thank goodness for good editors!

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  9. I think I once found I had used the word beautiful ten times within two pages. The sky, the eyes, the dress...you get the picture. Everything was beautiful that day! Thankfully, I cut 8 of them in editing.
    And, that is one fabulous cover!!!
    Amelia

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  10. Victoria - oh yeah, I've changed people's hair color, eye color, age, number of siblings, names of siblings, but you get props for raising the dead!

    Shana - I confess, my characters have been sliding into chairs too!

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  11. Cheryl - yeah, I also have at least two other people other than me read it before I submit. And yet there is always something we miss! Trying to give my poor characters some more support!

    Terry - hahaha - I shall call it 'reclining' :)

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  12. Cheryl - yeah, I also have at least two other people other than me read it before I submit. And yet there is always something we miss! Trying to give my poor characters some more support!

    Terry - hahaha - I shall call it 'reclining' :)

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  13. Samantha - clearly your books leave everyone breathless!!

    Amelia - you must have been having a beautiful day! Sometimes I think I make repititions when I edit and go back and change one paragraph, not remembering I used the same word or phase before (like about fifty times...)

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  14. Carolyn - oh my gosh - I forgot about the waddling d*ck. Quack Quack! ;)

    Terry - I think an investigation is in order!

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  15. Lovely cover, Amanda--very bridal-looking!

    Oh, good heavens--edits! I went through them less than two months ago, and while I think I caught most of the errata, a glitch can still leap out at me unexpectedly even after edits. Which is why I'm glad we get a few more rounds with the red pencil before the book goes to press.

    This time around, I changed the sex of the heroine's horse. She has a grey gelding that the hero remembered as a mare. The horse has now been reverted to its correct gender.

    Horse:(neighs indignantly)

    Me: Hey, I could have referred to you as a stallion. Then you'd really be pissed off about being a gelding again!

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  16. Pamela - gender reassignment - I think I did that to a sibling once. Proofreading is so important!

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  17. You too? Toasts. I'm in the editing cave too. Thankfully, I LOVE editing. It gives me the chance to fall in love with the characters all over again.... and stop them from repetitive habits. Apparently the hero in this one grinds his teeth too much. I don't want him wearing down his fangs!

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