Monday, November 14, 2016

How To Edit (as told by a newbie author who has no idea what they're doing)

     Hey! Hi! Welcome! If you've read any of my past installments or are fairly new you'll have discovered 3 things about me fairly rapidly:

1) I say I update every Monday and/or Wednesday but really it's whatever Monday or Wednesday I remember to post on. Oops?

2) I love gifs and lists too much and kind of don't care

3) I use more words than needed when writing like....anything.

     In other news you might have also correctly surmised that I've recently(ish) become a published author! Whaaaaat!? That's right! You're reading a blog post written by a newly minted author who has no idea how it actually works. I mean, I thought I did. But I was wrong.


      Basically my mental/emotional process went like this as the 'landmarks' went by that all seasoned author's tell you to enjoy and savor:

-Get book picked up: OMG YAAAY! It doesn't feel real!
-Sign contract: OMG YAY! It still doesn't feel real! Shouldn't I be feeling more excited?

-Get book trailer made thanks to amazing artistic friends: OMG OMG OMG THIS IS SO COOL! OMG I'M SO STRESSED. Book getting publish STILL doesn't feel real. Should I be worried?

-See book cover: OMG IT'S SO BEAUTIFUL! Are you sure this is my book? Are you sure? It doesn't feel real. I don't feel like an author yet. I know! When I get my edits back! THAT'S when it'll all feel real and I'll feel like I've really made it!

-Get edits back: OMG EDITS! I....still feel like my book isn't getting published. WHY? Why don't I feel all tingly and smart and smug!?! Aren't I supposed to feel like I have a place in the writing world now!? AREN'T I!?!?


     Bascially my entire process has been "I don't feel like an author yet". Is that weird? Has anyone whose gotten published felt this way? 'Cause it feels not real to me. Every time one of the big milestones happened I felt....anticlimactic. And getting my edits back really cemented that.

     What I was expecting with my edits was them finding everything I'd done wrong (and believe me, I know I have some weak plot points etc, but don't know how to fix them) and just run me into the ground and help/tell me how to fix it/make it stronger.
That isn't what happened.

    I got edits back and it was line editing. Which is great! Which is fine! It means that they're going through and fixing grammar, writing, and tightening up sentences and catching little inconsistencies etc. But all of my less than strong scenes or problems that I knew I would need help with?

Not a single comment or advice.

      Being very confused I asked my much more experienced writer friend Caitlin Jones what the heck was going on. Why wasn't it bleeding red? Why were my problems not addressed? HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO KNOW WHAT IS WRONG SO I CAN FIX IT!?!? I like criticsm if it's constructive. And this article gives a good overview of what different types of editing there is. Basically we skipped past the Structural Editing and made a mad crazy dash into Copy Editing.

     And that's great. Really. I mean, we all need copy editing! That stuff's important! But Yeah. No structural editing--which secretly in my author heart, I know I need. I even willingly admit it here on my blog! Because I'm honest like that!

    Caitlin, whose edited, and who has experience in the field told me that its often normal for small printing presses to mainly do Copy Editing. Which basically means I have to call myself on my own crap and fix it. Which is fine! I'm overly critical of myself anyway. Like, I'm worse than a mother-in-law visiting for a married couples first thanksgiving. But the problem is that I don't know HOW to fix my faults.
I was kinda counting on them to catch it tell me how fix it.

     So now I'm left with two choices:

1) Tell the editor where my problems are and ask them how to fix it

2) Not tell my editor and try to fix it myself. WITH WINE.

     It doesn't seem so bad right, informing the editor where you messed up. But like, I've never done this before. I don't what to expect. I had expected gashing wounds in my book. Instead I got a scraped knee that requires neosporin and a hug, not gauze and some stitches. Which I know just isn't true. I think that's why it feels so anticlimactic. I had assumed a blood bath and it wasn't. And I know I'm not so good that there isn't plot mistakes somewhere (see? Super harsh and judgmental on myself).

     So my editing goal is this:

     Fix what she wants me to fix in line edits, re-write stuff (because honestly my writings improved in the past year and I can make it better!) and then ask the editor if she can do Structural Editing. I don't even know if you need a degree in that specific kind of editing.

     Editors, do they teach you that in editing school? Is there an editing school? If not, I feel there should be!

     So that's how to edit. Sort of. Sorry I can't give you good advice in this post. If you're as confused as I am, well then ladies gents, welcome to my world right now.


  1. Sounds like you have this covered. You can do it xx

    1. Hehehe thanks Susan! I only SOUND like I have it covered--I'm a good actress like that. Lol! ;)