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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Letting it Go: Thoughts on Editing

Okay, first off, I realize that I am so far overdue for a blog post it isn't even funny! Perhaps I can be forgiven, however, after some insight into the past six-eight weeks. In this span of time, I have wrapped up my blog tour for The Six, edited The Oracle, edited The White Thread, and finished writing the rough draft of book 4, The Enchanted - which I started in January. I have also prepared for and given birth to my third son (three boys, oh my!), and now I have a two-week-old at home along with my three-year-old and my five-year-old. As a teacher, I had to prepare for my maternity leave that would overlap final exam time for my 10th graders and finish teaching as much material as I could get through before the arrival of baby #3.

Can you forgive me for neglecting my blog? (Cue mini violin)

Moving beyond the hectic craziness that was the last 8 weeks, I'm now looking forward to a summer spent editing The Enchanted, working with my publicists to organize interviews and appearances, and writing book 5, as well as kicking off another blog tour for The Oracle and, later in the summer, a third blog tour for The White Thread. All things considered, however, it's actually less work than I've been engaged in this spring, so I think the future is bright!

Out of all this mess of stuff, the most difficult part has been the editing process, and I just wanted to share a few thoughts. Allowing a team of people to come in and rework your manuscript is a difficult thing, and I've actually called it humbling several times over this past spring. I knew that it would be hard to release my books into the hands of others, but I don't think I anticipated just how difficult it would be at times. Working with editors takes trust - a lot of it. I decided from the beginning that I would trust my editing team to make my books better, even if I didn't agree with changes they made and even if I didn't understand all the changes they made, and I'm glad I made this promise to myself. The fact of the matter is, they want me to succeed; they are not out to make my books worse, and I sometimes need to remind myself of that. The most difficult changes to swallow are the stylistic ones. For example, they do not want me to use hardly any creative dialogue tags or ly-adverbs, but I love using them! And when I read my favorite books, I see the pages full of them, as well (probably why I enjoy using them, as writing is an imitative art). However, if I can hold my books in an open palm and allow my editors to use their expertise to fashion my stories into more professional-sounding prose, then I think I've taken an important step. And quite frankly, nine times out of ten, when I go back and read a section they have helped me rework, it really is better. I find that I'm actually looking forward to editing book 4. As it is the first manuscript that was not previously self-published, I think I'll be able to approach it with more of an open mind. Although maybe I've just learned a little more trust and humility, which are things that we all need in life.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on the birth of your 3rd son! I understand what you're saying about editing and how it's hard when they take out your fave things, like the type of dialogue you enjoy in books you read. I can't get past the editing process because I won't let them take stuff like that out of my books. Maybe their changes seem good to them but it's not my voice after all the changes. I don't know the answer, but my instincts tell me it's okay to be the way I want to be.

    Example - "On the Road" by Jack Kerouac - the original scroll version finally was published in 2007 which is 56 years after he wrote it in 1951. The heavily edited version was first published in 1957 I believe...and it's good but not nearly as good as his original. He finally gave up and let the publishers do what they wanted...he waited 6 years while they insisted on changes. Not much has improved in the publishing world as far as I can see. There needs to be a big change in their processes.