Thursday, May 16, 2013

Editing and the EDJ

Things are plugging along for me, despite the Evil Day Job's best attempts at getting me off track. I'm a freelance journalist, so most of the time after a long day of interviews and writing the last thing I want to do is write more, but I'm trying hard to get past that. Having the daily word count goal I set at the Dreamspinner Author Workshop in April has been a big help.

The Buyout
I just finished the first round of edits on my latest novella The Buyout, which will be published by Dreamspinner Press later this year. My first instinct when I see one of my manuscripts all marked up is to cringe at all the mistakes I made and all the plot holes I left (or the number of times I changed a character's eye color or the city they lived in or, on one memorable occasion, getting the character's name wrong...not misspelled, just flat out wrong).

As a journalist, I'm used to having my pieces torn apart. What I'm not used to is having those ripped up pieces sent back to me, asking me to sign off on the changes and revise in areas--we journos usually work on a tight deadline that doesn't allow for that kind of dialogue between writer and editor. To be honest, I kind of prefer it that way.

This is the third story I've taken through production at Dreamspinner, and I have to say that my experiences with the editors has been top-notch. Their comments are insightful and they never fail to make my stories tighter, clearer, and better when we come out the other side of the editing tunnel. That said, the editing process is still a nerve-racking one, and my conversations with authors who are much more seasoned than  me leave me to believe that the initial roller coaster ride of self-pity and horror that accompanies getting that first edit back is never going to change. 

It's not that I'm not open to the criticism, because I am. The editors ultimately have the same goal I do--to make that story the best it can be. And like I said, once I've reworked paragraphs in accordance with their notes or changed the wording or sentence structure the way they've suggested, I always walk away from it feeling like that story is better for it.

But any feedback that isn't open gushing about your story--your baby, the piece you've reared from infancy and spent many a late night with--is hard to hear. I think that experience makes us better writers, though. And the work editors do with us definitely makes the books better in the end, and that's what should matter.

How do you deal with the editing process? Do you have any tips to share with a newbie?

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