The Perfect Edit?

Caution – red pen at work. (Also Spoiler Alert – don’t read manuscript if you don’t want spoilers).

 

As of a week and a half ago, I have written three books in the Wil Clarey Series. Books two and three are in rough draft form –

very rough.

Book One – The Impossible Summer is in much better shape. It is as thoroughly self-edited as possible. It is completely ready for professional editors.

So I thought.

In preparation for editing book two, School of Hard Knocks, I read through Book one with an eye toward maintaining continuity through the series. I even made a spreadsheet to list all the named characters and details about them (There are 34 named characters in The Impossible Summer at last count).

Of course, I read my paper manuscript with red pen in hand.

The red pen has a mind of its own. It found several poorly worded sentences, a few unneeded lines, and a handful of typos.

So much for “ready for professional edit.”

If you are a casual reader, you might not realize how many times most books are edited before publishing. I used to think that someone would proofread a manuscript and then it would be printed. That’s just the final step.

Here’s a few of the possible edits a manuscript will go through:

  • Developmental edit – This one can be painful. This type of edit may lead to major restructuring of the story.
  • Structural Edit – May be included with developmental edit. Looks at the flow of the presentation to make sure the reader can follow along.
  • Continuity edit (or fact checking) – I just did a bit of that with Book one. For instance, I realized that July 4th needed to fall on a Tuesday to stay consistent with the calendar I chose for books two and three. It can also include checking for consistency in character names and ages, layout of settings, etc.
  • Copy edit – checks for errors in grammar and spelling.
  • Proofread – checks for typos.

Some edits may be combined or split to suit the publisher and the book. I’ve seen about as many interpretations of editing as I’ve seen articles on the process.

The bottom line is, a good book is the work of the author and several others.

Just like a lawyer representing himself has a fool for a client, the author who self-edits beyond the first couple of edits has a fool for an editor.

As I don’t have the cash to lay out for a series of professional edits, I am praying for a traditional publisher. In the meantime, realize that any excerpts you may see here or at WilClarey.com may not be as they get published.

I promise you that I will not publish whole books without completing the editing process. I’m not that cruel.

Okay, maybe I’m a little cruel.

These blogs and my Christmas stories are self edited.

I hope you enjoy them anyway!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s