On Editing

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Editing

Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’m in the process of editing the first book in my Demons of Infernum series, which is set to be released by Entangled Publishing in August 2011. Having gone through the editing process on a couple of different manuscripts now, it strikes me I have a pretty standard process for editing. It goes something like this:

  • Day 1 – Receive and read through edits. Throw them down in panic and obsess over how I can’t possibly do what’s being asked of me.
  • Day 2 – Panic and worry about how I’m going to be a total failure.
  • Day 3 – Alternate panicking with pep talks about how I can do it.
  • Day 4 – Read through the edits again. Realize these suggestions will make the story much stronger. Get excited. Sit down and start editing.

I have a feeling my process is not so unique. I would imagine a lot of other writers feel the same exact way when editing their work.

What I’ve found is that nothing alleviates the worry and stress of editing like actually sitting down and doing it. (Novel concept, huh?) But that initial period of reflection is necessary. Even though it mostly feels like I’m just worrying, I’ve accepted that some part of my brain is working through those edits, mulling them over and trying to puzzle out how they’ll be accomplished. In other words, it’s all part of the editing process (at least for me).

I’d love to hear from some writers who’ve gone through editing with publishers/agents. Do you have a similar panic-to-acceptance-to-excitement process, or do you (gasp) get excited about it from the very beginning? 

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12 thoughts on “On Editing

    Mark Covington said:
    May 2, 2011 at 9:59 am

    I go through a similar process:
    1 – First day. Read edits, initial reaction – this editor is trying to undermine the whole point of my book. She just doesn’t get it.
    2 – First half of Second day – Well, Ok it could be written better, I see what she means.
    3 – Second half of Second day- OK, how do I work in the edits and keep the integrity of my book.
    4- Third day- Editing.

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      May 2, 2011 at 10:03 am

      Yeah, I think it takes a while to process editor comments because you become so attached to your story. You can’t possibly imagine it another way. But then you do, and you realize it might just be better!

    Desmond Haas said:
    May 2, 2011 at 9:59 am

    Oh, gosh, what a can of worms. Generally, I like editing as it gives me an opportunity to catch flaws and change a word here and there. What I don’t like are editors who overstep their purview and yes, I recently went through this.

    I have confidence in my ability to write and I take suggestions as just that–suggestions. If I feel what was asked will make the book better, then I’ll incorporate it.

    Usually, I’ll sit down with the editor’s notes and work from day 1, but may leave some changes/rewrites alone until I can think more about them. The corrections, both typos and grammar, are my first run, the rewriting comes after. I have to say, however, I don’t anguish and I enjoy the editing until I’ve gone through my manuscript so many times, I want/need to do something else.

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      May 2, 2011 at 10:05 am

      I don’t love editing. I’d always prefer to be writing. That said, it’s never as horrible as it seems it will be before I start. 🙂

    Lisa Kessler said:
    May 2, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Just turned in my first round edits last week so it’s very fresh! LOL

    I was lucky because I agreed with all of them and although it took me a little longer than I thought it would, I eventually loved my book by the end of the process! LOL

    That’s the toughest part for me… At some point during editing I end up hating my entire book and think it will never be good enough… Ugh!

    Insecure writer syndrome… LOL

    Good luck with the edits Rosalie!!!

    Lisa 🙂

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      May 2, 2011 at 10:36 am

      I agree with the changes too, especially now that I’ve had time to process them and begin to work them out. And I can sense me book getting stronger as I go on. But the actual doing is hard. I guess because I’m accustomed to building a scene in my head and letting the words flow out of me. Revisions aren’t like that. It’s a lot of thinking and rethinking and changes one or two words here and there.

    Mary Abshire said:
    May 2, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    After having to go through edits just days before a release date, I totally understand your stress.
    The best thing to do is just read through the edits and work them, reminding yourself they will improve your story. You already said this, just keep saying it :o) Breathe, and when you’re done, go celebrate!

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      May 2, 2011 at 12:29 pm

      I cannot begin to imagine having just a few days to edit, Mary. I think I’d tear all my hair out! I’m anxiously awaiting the moment edits are done, and plan to reward myself by going to watch, “Something Borrowed”. So looking forward to that! 🙂

    Julia Rachel Barrett said:
    May 2, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    Oh…my editing stories…won’t bore you! I love edits, think they’re fun unless your publisher sends you edits the night before the book is supposed to go live!

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      May 2, 2011 at 4:29 pm

      Fun? Eek! Well, hopefully I’ll feel that way some day. 🙂

    Christine Ashworth said:
    May 3, 2011 at 11:05 am

    Rosalie, it takes me almost a full week to process the changes needed and to see that yes, the changes will make the work stronger. I love doing edits once I can wrap my head around them and make them work. It’s much more exciting than actually writing the first draft, for me.

    Which is a good thing in the long run, as it takes a lot to get a manuscript up to it’s very best!

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      May 3, 2011 at 11:19 am

      I’m definitely not loving editing more than writing, but as they say, writing is rewriting! There was a moment yesterday where I changed the POV per my editor’s suggestion and the scene just sang! Loved that. 🙂

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