I thought long and hard about what to write about for this guest post opportunity. It’s like a bizarre Open Mic Night thing. Most of you don’t know me, but I can’t see my hecklers until it’s too late. So what to do? Try to be pithy? Try to be funny? Then the Meme Card came up on Facebook… Editing is 30% Improvement and 70% making this face. And so…is this thing on?
There’s a lot to learn when it comes to writing. You can do it for years and years and still learn stuff (in fact, my opinion is that you should always be learning stuff). I’ve done quite a bit of short story work for…a while…now, as well as working on braided novels and a couple of other formats. And while those are great, I’m currently doing the final edit on my novel before it’s published. And, well, FACE.
Doing a solo novel, especially for the first time, is so different from anything else I’ve ever done. First was the editorial phone call, which – while supportive also made me wonder what the heck I was thinking sending out this…thing. When the manuscript came back, I prepared for the red, but was a complete wuss about looking at it. Fortunately, there are whole pages that don’t have marks on them…and I’ll take what I can get – but still…ow. What made it better? Was hearing J. Kathleen Cheney say, “My editor made me rewrite the back half of my book…”Then the other real work began. Reading through and seeing the problems and notes and implementing them. As with initial drafts, I’m a Pen/Paper person. I like ink, and the low tech version meant I could carry it with me wherever I went – in case there was an opportunity to work on it. It helped that I was diving in right around ConDFW, where I’m surrounded by support. Cheney, offer to do a “pre-final” read through for me. It gave her an excuse to procrastinate on something, so win/win.
Now, I’m in the process of a strange hybrid editing…thing. I had my electronic file of the manuscript. I had the track changes file from Cheney, and the paper edits. Time to learn a new skill – which I did. I combined the two electronic files first and creating yet another file (in Word 2007 and up, it’s in the “Review” ribbon under “Compare” nifty little trick). Now, while I’m inputting my paper edits mostly from my publisher/editor, but some I made one my own, I also have Cheney’s notes. Made my life easier, but still…there’s the FACE.Seriously? In some cases, WHAT DID I DO? What is that sentence? Thank Goodness for editors and friends – and this is AFTER it’s been through other people and sent out to publishers for – because yeesh. I’m still kinda embarrassed about what I sent out to several editors before this one took the chance on me. Editors are a good, good thing. The editing process is not glamorous. It’s not at all fun – not like that first blush of a new story or a new set of characters – but it’s a necessary thing. My goal is to make the FACE less and less going forward, but I also don’t want to be solely responsible for brilliance. It’s just too much of a burden, and by having good editors (and friends) involved, the story is stronger than I could’ve made it on my own.
So listen to your editors. They’re like Mothers. They know what they’re talking about, and they know what’s good for you, and just maybe help make that 30/70% ratio will skew higher.
Bio: Rhonda Eudaly lives in Arlington, Texas with her husband, and two dogs. She’s ventured into several industries and occupations for a wide variety of experience. She has a well-rounded publication history in both fiction and non-fiction many of which can be found on www.RhondaEudaly.com.
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