Friday, August 26, 2011

Edits and Final Galleys

Edits and Final Galleys

Some authors think of edits as torture, a necessary evil. Me, I love edits. Oh, don't get me wrong, it hurts when my editors tell me to cut this sentence or even a paragraph. I worked hard over those words. The story is my baby, my life. I spent hours, days, weeks, even years laboring over it.
Sometimes I look at the manuscript and all I see is red. What the heck, it couldn't be that bad, could it? Is the editor picking on me?
One of the most important things to remember when doing edits is to keep an open mind. I like to paraphrase rather than use thoughts. That means I use the word she a lot. The reason I dislike thoughts, well two reasons, actually - 1. editors like to put thoughts into Italics. - I dislike italics - no, I hate italics. Nothing takes me out of a story worse than italics. They distract me and that's not something you want to do with a reader. Most of the books I've read   about writing say- don't use them. (and I've read a lot of books on writing, Donald Maass for one). The other reason I don't like them is thoughts also distract me. So instead of writing, I hated when he does that, I write She hated when he did that. Eliminates the need for italics and I. To me it reads much better. However, my editor doesn't like all the shes. Okay I know I use a lot of them and truthfully, I don't see a problem with it. The sentences make sense. Readers know they're thoughts. They don't need italics to tell them. I try hard to avoid thoughts that need italics, but sometimes you just have to use them.
Okay, back to editing. As the author, you have the final say on your work. But don't be stubborn. Your editor is there to help you make your work the best it can be. I've seldom had to disagree with my editor. Most of the time I look at what she wants to delete or change and I agree. Sometimes, it's back story. Sometimes it's just unneeded information.
Another reason I like edits, it gives me a chance to change things that don't sound right to me or maybe add something that will add to the story - No, I'm not talking about pages or chapters. I'm talking about a sentence or two that might add tension or help clarify what you're talking about.
Once you're done with edits, you send them back to the editor. They might go back and forth several times before you both agree and are satisfied with the final manuscript.  Ha, that's not the final manuscript at all. Now comes line edits. A different editor goes through what you and your content editor just agreed is the best manuscript. The line editor will go through line by line and suggest changes that are sometimes repetitive sentences etc. They also make sure all the commas, periods, and spelling is correct. If a sentence doesn't make sense to them, they'll suggest you change it. Again, it's your work, but keep an open mind. Think of the line editor as one of your readers. If she/he thinks it doesn't sound right, so will your reader. I seldom disagree with my line editor. Unless I have a character that speaks in a certain way,I'll usually take the suggestion.
Now comes the final galley. This is it. This is what your book is going to look like. This is your responsibility to make sure that every i is dotted and every t is crossed - so to speak. Look for spelling, commas, periods and yes, sometimes wrong words here or there. This is the last opportunity to make your book the best it's going to be. Final galleys aren't for changing sentences or paragraphs or adding to the story. Go through the final galley carefully. Even editors, no matter how good they are, miss things. A misspelled word, missing comma, etc. No one is perfect. It's the last polish before your editor sends the book off for publishing.
Think of edits as a way to improve your manuscript, not to destroy it. Editors want to work with you, not against you.


Roseanne Dowell said...

Thanks to Muse for allowing authors to post on their blog

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

My editors at Muse, Chris & Val are superstars! You ladies rock!

Paul McDermott said...

*singing "Maybe it's because I'm a Masochist..." (definitely NOT "a Londoner" LOL)

I happen to ENJOY editing - and ESPECIALLY proofreading! Is it true,you can actually get PAID for proofeading???????? I WANT MORE!!

More seriously. When I actually held my first-born 'baby' in my hands (a childrens' book) I felt great. Then I started reading through and found that the Perfect MS I had submitted had been poorly edited. Lots of typos, spelling mistakes and even grammatical faults had crept in which I know I would NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS have made (or failed to spot!)
The guilty party (a local small publisher) has since gone belly - up (perhaps the economy, but no big surprise). Now I'm looking for a BIGGER Pub. House to take on the finished Sequel to the above ...

Unknown said...

Personally, I've come to love the editing process! It's where you make things shine--where you "find" your story. At this point in my career, I've only worked with one editor, Claudia Suzanne, but I absolutely LOVED her. We "connected" and I think that really makes a difference when you're going through the process, especially for the first time. I’m happy to say that I’m looking forward to working with our Muse editors.

As for italics, I happen to love using them, but that's just my personal opinion. When I'm reading, I WANT to get into a character's head … as much as possible! I feel like Italics give me that direct line. Those “thoughts” make me feel like I’m the only person who knows exactly what’s going on inside a character’s mind—like they’re letting me in on their secrets. To me, that’s an added layer of intimacy.

As usual, wonderful bog, Roseanne! Very thought provoking.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love my editors at Muse - I know they have my best interest and Muses best interest in their hearts when editing my work. Thank Goodness!
Thanks for sharing Roseanne - I had no idea italics were a 'bad' thing.
I still use it when it's a direct, 'she thought,' simply the direct thought itself in a way the reader knows whose thought it is.
Sorry Roseanne...sometimes it's okay.
I love the editing part of writing as well. I learn my best writing lessons then.

Roseanne Dowell said...

Thanks everyone for posting. @Joylene, I love the editors at Muse too, they're great. @Paul, yikes, there's nothing worse than poor editing. My first book wasn't edited at all. They printed it exactly as I wrote it. Very bad - lots of headhopping for one thing.@Diana, you're right Good editing does make the end product shine.@KayDee, according to the books I've read, the reader is pretty smart and knows when it's a thought without you telling them. Some people don't mind italics and that's fine. I dislike them. However, my publisher likes them so I have to live with it.

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for posting this Ro! I love both my editors so very much. I am apprehensive about Galley's though. I mean, this is it, right? Like you said. It needs to shine and I'm scared I will miss something. You are precious for sharing all this, it helps. Hugs.

Megan Johns said...

Very interesting post, Roseanne. Sounds like you have a great working relationship with your editors

Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz said...

Roseanne, as one of the line editors at Muse, I want to thank you for this thoughtful and insightful post. You are right on. Editing is the process which makes an author's book the best it can be. As an author, I can also understand the difficulty of letting go of my beloved words. Once I do, however, I know my book is better than it was when I started.

J.Q. Rose said...

I must admit when I turned in my finished ms, I was so smug. I knew the ms was perfect and I would not see red ink on MY pages. HA! Karen Mc Grath, my line editor, was very gentle with her edits, but she certainly put Tracker to work to help me make a well-constructed story out of my original ms. And Penny scouted through the lines to help me out. (I still have not forgiven her for making me take out Nice n Easy hair color and Lazy Boy recliner, but she was right..) Great post, Roseanne. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I came over expecting an article about self-editing, but was pleased to find the topic different than what I expected. I work as a content editor at a different publishing company and I just love it. It's enjoyable to transform something good into something great. It's not picking on the author. New eyes are able to see the text freshly.

I love editing my own work, but trust me my copy came back from the editor bleeding, lol. It takes distance to polish a piece and sometimes it's hard for the writer to find that distance.

My solution for 'She hated when he did that.' would be, 'Red touched the edge of her vision. He only did such things because he knew how much she hated it.' Just a thought. I hate italics too, so I also stay away from "I ..."

I hope soon I'll meet the editors of Muse, but first I have to submit right, lol.

Karen Cioffi said...

I like the editing process, whether having my ms done or helping someone else with there's. Editing helps a ms in so many ways. Thanks for sharing.