Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Edits - One Year Of Survival

It's been one year since I received my first edits. At the time, I did a blog post on them if you care to read it HERE. I've learned a lot in one year, and I thought it would be fun to compare how I felt then with how I view edits now.

1) CALM DOWN.

This one still rings true. I recently had the chance to put this one into practice, and I'm glad I did. One should always behave in public, and that includes online. :)

2) Realize how much time and work your editor took with the changes.

Very true. But edits should improve the story, not re-write it. Sometimes you and a particular editor are simply not a good fit.

3) Learn how to use Track Changes in Word.

Just as true now as it was a year ago. Oh, and for you Word For Mac users, Word is the industry standard. Deal with it. I hate it too but there's no changing that, okay? Just understand it's a Microsoft product and even though it says Word For Mac, it won't play nice all the time on your Macbook. When things start locking up, restart your machine. Works like a charm. :) Oh, and SAVE OFTEN, just in case.

4) Read through the entire thing first, slowly.

This. In fact, I would add give yourself a day or two to do this. You'll miss things the first time around, and after practicing #1 you might find it's not quite the disaster you first believed it was.

5) Try not to freak out as you do.

Hell no! Go ahead and freak out. Rant to the cat. Throw things. Just don't toss your laptop around by mistake. :)

6) Edit at the time of day you're most fresh.

Oh whatever. Just get them done. If your life is like mine you're lucky to sit down at eight in the evening to finally get some writing done.

7) Break the document into number of pages you need to edit each day to make your deadline.

See #6. Work till you drop is my motto these days.

8) Then double that number of pages, and set that as your daily goal.

In other words, even if you're stressing about the edits, don't miss your deadline.

9) Go through each change one at a time. Slowly.

It depends. If you're accepting them you can speed along pretty quickly. If, on the other hand, you're doing extensive re-writes or spending a great deal of time writing comments about why you've rejected so many of the editor's changes, you'll need to go slowly anyway. Especially because of #3.

10) Remember it's your story. If something doesn't sound right, read it out loud. If it still doesn't sound right, don't accept the change, and write your editor a very sweet comment explaining why it just doesn't sound right. They're human beings too. :)

Seriously, it is your story. If you truly believe you're right, stick to your guns. If you need to talk to someone about it, do so. If you need to email your publisher with your concerns, make sure you've passed #1, #4 and #5 first. That way your email will be professional rather than a diva rant. You don't want to burn a bridge or start a cyber war over edits.

11) Take frequent breaks but make your daily goal of so many pages. If you get behind, you'll only stress yourself out trying to make up the pages, and the changes won't be as good as if you took your time.

Yep. Still true.

12) Celebrate!! You have edits! From an editor! And you're on deadline! That means you're one step closer to the finished book, and it means you're that much closer to being a paid writer. :)

Still true! With the exception of one incident this past year, my editing experiences have been positive and fulfilling. The changes improved my stories and taught me so much about my writing.

Your turn! Tell me how you approach edits. Any words of wisdom you want to share?

6 comments:

  1. All good advice! Having been a copy editor for the past 30-some years, but knowing my work has to be edited by someone else, I try to keep an open mind. (My latest book had three.) We're all trying to turn out a product we're proud of, right? Right!

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  2. I normally rant to the dogs for a night, then when I look at the edits the next morning they generally are spot on. Criticism is hard to take even when it's constructive. Once in the edit mode, I find it hard to switch gears and get into the creative frame of mind. Any thoughts on that, hmm?

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  3. Absolutely, Eilis! :)

    Cadence, I have trouble with the same thing. That's why I've learned to tackle edits and get them done ASAP so I can get back to writing my WIP. I just can't seem to do both at the same time. :)

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  4. Nope, different parts of the brain. All you can do is step away (literally) from one and sit back down for the other. Or do one until you can't stand it anymore and switch over.

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  5. The prospect of edits used to scare the heck out of me. Luckily, the edits on my ms weren't too bad. Evidently, I don't have a firm grasp on comma usage. *sigh* The good thing about indie publishing is that I can pick and choose which edits to make. Hopefully I made all the right choices.

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