I’ve now completed two rounds of editing for my story Yakimali’s Gift, working with a junior editor. It was actually pretty painless, and I feel the manuscript is much improved thanks to the editor’s sharp eye and understanding of all the grammar rules.
Receiving edits from someone other than my critique partners was a new experience, and one thing I learned is, no matter how good at self-editing you think you are (and, boy, did I have a lofty opinion of myself in that regard. Notice the past tense “did”), you’re never going to catch everything.
I also learned another, more specific, thing about my writing style, a bad habit that I was completely unaware of. I used a lot of m-dashes—and I mean a lot—to emphasize certain phrases. Oops, see what I mean?
The editor brought it to my attention, and said it could be irritating to the reader. When I did a search and destroy in Word, I was truly amazed how often I’d used them.
I admit this editing process was a bit intimidating at first, but I’m really grateful to have the editor’s help. The manuscript is now in the hands of the publisher, so I’m awaiting Round Three edits—and looking forward to her feedback. Oops! Darn!
Beau Coup Publishing
I’ve also been working on a revision of The Castle Blues Quake. Before starting the editing process with the editors at Beau Coup, the publisher asked if I could add 10,000 words to the manuscript. I gulped, and then said, Of course!
When I submitted the query, the manuscript was at approximately 40,000 words, so adding another 10k is a significant amount. I came up with some ideas, though, and submitted a short outline to the publisher, and she was happy with my additions.
So far, I’m halfway there. I just submitted a new beginning to my critique group while I continue to work on the rest of the story. It’s a little nerve-racking trying to meet that goal and do it in a timely manner, but then I love revision (as opposed to first drafts), so I’m enjoying it.
That’s where I’m at now in my “Road to Publication” and I’ll be back next Wednesday with another update.
FYI: In case you don’t hear from me before then, it’s because I’m heading up to the mountains for a few days with little or no Internet access. I will, of course, bring my computer to get in some writing time and knock off more of those 10k words!
Do you have any “bad” writing habits you’ve had to overcome?
Interesting about the em-dashes, Linda. I think I suffer the same malady. Also, I was told I’m too fond of internal thought, so I need to cut, cut, cut. Very cool, that you got to work with an actual editor assigned to you. Sounds like a great learning experience.
Silvia, with children’s writing especially, I think there’s a fine line between too much and too little internal thought. It’s not easy to decide!
I had an obsession with ellilsis and had to search and destroy them in a story. I don’t think I’m too bad with em-dashes. Maybe I should check and make sure.
Patricia, I think the use of the ellipsis is similar to dashes. 🙂
Oh, bad habits. I love adverbs. I have to search and minimize after I finish writing. I always keep a few, can’t help it. Thanks for sharing your love of editing versus rough draft. I feel the same. Love the polishing process over the ‘get it down and finished’ process.
Aubrey, adverbs are SO easy to throw in and SO difficult to cut. 🙂