Friday, July 11, 2014

Editing, Schmediting

SERVANT came back from the editor on Monday, and I've spent every day since then trying not to be disheartened by all the red marks with which my editor painted my document.

Every time I send off a novel or short story to be beta-read or edited, fear reaches out its knobby fingers and latches onto my heart. My chest tightens. I feel like I can't breathe right. What if they say my story sucks? What if it's so bad it can't be published and I have to start all over from the beginning?

I'm sure many authors have this fear. We want our work to be perfect but know it isn't. What is clear in our minds does not always translate to the page, which I have learned time and time again.

In SERVANT'S case, I understood my characters, but the editor found their motivations murky. She said they needed to be developed better. So far I've altered one scene to read from a different character's point of view, flip-flopped two scenes so they appear in a different order, wrote in some flashbacks so a relationship could be understood better, consulted a native Spanish speaker to check the correctness of a sentence, picked a different Bible verse for a passage at a wedding, and fixed what a character was doing since the editor said it was physically impossible for him to do it.

And that's not all, because I'm not finished combing through the document. When I'm done, I'll comb through it again to tweak things further, and then again after that. Then it gets sent back to the editor so she can look at all my changes.

[wipes sweat from brow]

The plus side? She said my writing is tight! (Which means I don't use excessive words.)

SERVANT should be coming very soon now. I can almost taste it. Can you?


  1. I always feel the same way when I get edits back on my stories. I used to be real bad and cringe, but now I've learned to take a lot of what is said constructively. That being said, the screenshot you put up of the red on your page is nothing compared to what my manuscripts look like when they come back to me. My eyes bleed just opening the files...

    1. Thanks for dropping in, David!

      My manuscript would have been "redder" but I sent it through several beta readers first to catch a lot of the issues before it went to the editor. I think one beta put more marks on it than the editor did!

      And cringing pretty much describes it. :)

  2. Your writing is most definitely tight. Isn't it amazing what editors can find? I have a hard time getting through that wall. The wall that exists between me and the readers. I understand what's going on in the story pretty well, but they don't unfortunately.

    I hope I get to beta read a later edition too!