A new series begins! On Saturday I discussed wanting to share my editing experience with you, hoping that my experiences might help you out in future endeavours. I’ll kick off with a very simple but incredibly important observation: all editors are different.
Prepare (written material) for publication by correcting, condensing, or otherwise modifying it.
Easy right? It doesn’t include (though often does because of time restraints) proofreading, critiquing or formatting. Those are different jobs. Editing is what helps turn an okay piece of writing into a brilliant one, ensuring that the vision in your mind translates clearly onto the page for someone else to read. And it’s a tricky thing to do.
I have (or should I say, Da Shared Brain has) worked with three editors during my writing career. One with We Are Family Magazine, another for my Meeting Each Other series and the third for Slippers & Chains: Sugar Dust. All three have different backgrounds, styles and preferences and all of these come to bear when they work with me.
Hannah works to ensure her magazine is accessible to all readers and the stories I provide are clear and entertaining. Karen knows that with the added stigma of self publishing to contend with, my Meeting Each Other series must be a strong, well written and entertaining set of stories. Jenn has the whole of Breathless Press behind her and must ensure that my words and tone fit that brand, while maintaining whatever it was that encouraged the lead editor to accept my submission in the first place.
Three very different priorities but one single goal: make the work as good as it can be.
Jenn very much likes deep POV. She wants to get right into the head of the principal character and feel every tingle, ripple and ache right along with them. Karen wants to be pulled on for a ride and focuses on the richness of description and consistency throughout, so nothing can interrupt the flow of the tale I spin. Both pull out my crutch phrases, clunky sentences and (too) abstract similes.
If you want an example of the wonderful things I’ve learned so far, this is a sentence from the Slippers & Chains submission file, before an editor got anywhere near it.
“I need to go.” Heart thudding, Dan hung up. He put the phone on silent and tried to concentrate on the road ahead and not what was about to happen back in his bedroom.
And this is the section as it stands right now after four different passes to get it just right
“I gotta go.” Heat crept up his neck and jaw. Dan hung up. He removed the Bluetooth headset, put the phone on silent and tried to concentrate on the road ahead instead of what Pete would soon uncover in his bedroom.
Subtle differences. All very small, but I feel that the second version is much stronger and reads far easier than the first. And it still sounds like me. That is what an editor does.
More next time.