The Importance of Being Edited
Today’s my last day as Inside a Dog’s Resident Author. You can read my final post here. It’s been a lot of fun waffling on about storytelling and any topic that crosses my mind, and has convinced me that I need to write a few more posts here about the world of publishing.
There were a few times over the past month that posting a new entry proved to be a challenge, mostly because I’ve also been in the process of editing Vanguard Prime: Wild Card.
The process starts like this; Katrina, my editor, reads through the manuscript and makes notes as she goes, using Track Changes to suggest changes, ask questions, and point out any potential plot holes or inconsistencies.
When she’s finished, she emails me the marked-up Word document. I then go through, accepting or rejecting her suggestions, answering her questions and posing any of my own. By the time it’s done, the Track Changes document is a multi-coloured mass of deleted text, added text, and comment boxes.
I email the marked-up manuscript back to Katrina. She goes through, making the changes that I’ve approved and editing any new text that’s been added between drafts. This is incredibly helpful as my syntax can be unfocused and couched in far too many qualifiers. Katrina takes a machette to my puffed-up narration, cutting to the core of the idea I’m getting at. If there are any self-publishers reading this, I strongly recommend paying for a top-notch editorial service. It won’t be cheap, but publishing a book without an editor’s input is like walking outside with your fly undone and spinach in your teeth.
The manuscript is emailed back to me once again, looking far more tidy than it did the first time. I read through the whole thing a second time (well, I skim through it at this stage), making sure I’m happy with all the changes, and when I’m done I email it back to Katrina. At this point, the designer steps in to put together the page layout, adding fonts and dinkuses (dinkae? What’s the plural of dinkus?) and making sure everything fits and looks neat.
Katrina prints the pages off on A3 paper, with two book pages to every printed page, and posts it to me. We both read it through, as does a proofreader, and this is my last chance to make any changes. Generally these changes are about sentence structure, as things are too advanced at this stage to focus on structural issues (though if you spot a plothole that needs a line of dialogue added to address it, that’s still fine).
I use a highlighter and a red pen to mark down problem sentences and changes I want to make, marking every page where a change has been noted with a red X at the top right, so I know what pages to jump to when it comes time to email Katrina again.
As we’re now working off hardcopy, I type up an email where I outline each of the changes I’d like to make, a sample of which reads like this;
Page 4.Original line: He’s been playing the cello ever since he was a kidChange to: He’s been playing the cello all his life
Every step of the process has a two-week turnaround time, so the deadlines can get tight. I’m currently writing up the email with all the changes to make, which is due Monday (thankfully, I’m on target to get it in on time). After that, my publisher might also make suggestions about any possible changes to make, but otherwise this is the final text, which is put together by the designer and sent off to the printer to be published as a book.
So that’s what I’ve been doing at the same time as my Inside a Dog residency.
But in addition to that, my fiance and I are set to move house on Friday, which is always a much more involved process than you remember it being. Oh, and we’re getting married at the end of December, so we’ve had a few things to do on that front as well. And I also work full-time.
…….Just typing all that makes me feel exhausted!