Today I am having another new experience: I am going through edits from a real live working editor.
If you are multi-published this experience is about as familiar as lunch, but it’s new for me and I’m (mostly) enjoying it.
Most of the edits I agree with. Some are simple matters of house style, or minor punctuation things that aren’t worth even discussing. It’s a ‘you say po-tay-to, I say po-tah-to’ thing and one just reads, shrugs, and skips on.
Some are pick-ups of things which I didn’t notice, which are really valuable and show the importance of fresh eyes. Word repetition, for example, is something I try to keep an eye on, but the copyeditor has flagged a couple of places where I have used the same word in adjacent sentences without noticing, sometimes because it means different things in the different context.
Occasionally I don’t agree with a suggestion, but it’s usually fixable by rewriting a sentence (or whatever) so we both get what we want from the change.
There are things that amuse me, such as when I metaphorically dropped the editor into a bear trap of confusion by using an expression which is very normal to me and my friends but clearly isn’t to the world at large. Or when I find that, with this particular copyeditor, if one is going to refer to chocolate, one had better be specific, clear and preferably provide purchase instructions (or a gift basket).
There’s also amusement value (if a wry kind) in seeing that many of the things the editor picks up on are quirks you are already aware of in your own writing, but obviously haven’t quite slain the demons of yet! (*Cough* Exclamation Marks! *Cough*)
There are some trickier bits, like having to go back and weave in a bit more explanation of certain things, but even that has its charms, especially when you can use the opportunity to improve a scene.
Overall, I’m enjoying it, although it is more tiring and time-consuming that I thought it would be when I first saw the file. I suppose it’s like the sanding at the end of a woodworking job – that always takes longer than you think it should, too, but it’s necessary to get the right finish.
Thanks for bearing with me through this little litany of experience which is probably only of interest to me! To compensate, I’ve included some photos of the Destiny launch at the conference, with thanks to the lovely Anne Gracie.
The one at the top is some of the Destiny authors and at the bottom is more of us, plus our editors. I’m the one in the white top with the sunglasses in my hair, even though it’s night. They are a more or less permanent fixture on my head; so much so that I seriously considered getting my official photos done with them on, so people would recognise me when they saw me in real life.
But now I must get back to those edits! I have some work to do on the cat…