Sunday, 28 July 2013

The Joy and Pain of Editing

I'm not updating the blog quite as much during the summer, partly because it's good to have a slight break from constant online activity while the sun shines, and partly because I'm in the middle of edits for my new full length historical from Tirgearr Publishing, Midwinter Masquerade, which will be published late October/early November, all being well.

This has been an interesting novel to work on, as I had already sliced about 5,000 words off my original manuscript before even submitting to Tirgearr - much needed redrafting and sorting of some plot problems. Not that it was anywhere near perfect even then, of course. But after acceptance, my lovely editor got to work with me. I love this part of the book's progress to publication. We need a professional, objective eye cast over our 'baby' as we're far too close to the words, ideas and plot lines we create.

This is where it helps to have a good, trusting working relationship with an editor. I couldn't be happier with GA as she spots inconsistencies and repetitions and makes excellent suggestions which I then incorporate into the story in my own voice. Sometimes, we have to get rid of passages that add nothing to the story and which might actually slow it down, at other times I have to add more. I hope she would agree that my failings are not to do with grammar or punctuation and such basics on the whole but, oh boy, you should see the list of words I tend to repeat which I have now printed out and left on my desk for future work! And I tend to get carried away with the story and cause all kinds of needless complications in the plot for my characters at times.

But it's all worth it in the end when that next novel sits on Amazon begging to be read, so I'm taking a deep breath before tackling the next few chapters and can now see the glimmer of light at the far end of the tunnel. At least when I'm working on another novel, or any piece of writing, I can arm myself with that list of 'words to watch' and hopefully make the editor's job a bit easier in future. Now if I could only become more of a plotter and less of a pantster, that might get rid of some unnecessary complications in the next novel. The joys of writing and editing - and learning more with every single publication!



myraduffy said...

You have my sympathy,Rosemary! I've discovered I've an addiction to the word 'very' -I can't believe how often I've used it in the WIP!

Rosemary Gemmell said...

That's the very least of mine, Myra!

Wendy's Writing said...

It must be great to work with a good editor. It sounds like you're getting on brilliantly with the novel, Rosemary

Joanna said...

Thank you, Rosemary. This is really interesting for me, as I'm not much of a plotter either, but I find with novels it is necessary to have a bit of a framework. Like you, I also have a tendency to over-complicate things. Every day I need to remind myself to keep things simple and that it's the characters who drive the plot. They don't need me to stir too many things up for them.

It sounds as though you have a fabulous relationship with your editor. It must be a great help to have someone you can trust to know what should stay and what should go. When I'm contemplating deleting a large section, I keep hesitating in case that's the only good bit! However, once it's gone, there's a sense of relief and I don't usually regret it.
Congratulations on all you've achieved so far and wishing you the very best of luck with the last part of the editing, Rosemary. Not long to go now. xxx

Madison Johns said...

Thanks Rosemary. I thought I was the only one who uses repetitive phrases. I haven't yet gotten to my editing stage with my upcoming book with Tirgearr, but I'm so looking forward to it.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

It makes it so much more enjoyable, Wendy!

Thanks so much for your lovely comment, Joanna. I can imagine the struggle over making decisions to delete or not and it does help when an editor is giving that advice!

Hi Madison - thanks for commenting! I'm sure you'll enjoy the experience and I find it makes mine a stronger book in the end. We're so close to our own writing, aren't we.

Deborah Carr (Debs) said...

I pasted my mss into a Wordle word cloud today and spotted a few words that I obviously use a little too often.

I tend to plot a little more than I used to, but I still enjoy seeing where the characters/storyline takes me when writing a first draft.

Jean Bull said...

Despite all the editing, it sounds as if your novel is coming on well. It must be wonderful to have such a supportive editor. I spend (waste) a lot of time wondering if I should delete this paragraph or add that one, not to mention spending ages on planning this way or that. What a relief to have someone to tell me!

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Thanks for your comment, Debs!

It certainly helps to have a professional view - and I still have to do the extra writing required!

Vikki said...

Having a good editor must make the process so much smoother. I personally dislike the editing part of writing but can see how rewarding it must be to see work transform by the end!