Sunday, September 12, 2010

Hurrah for Editors!

The edited manuscript of Under the Skin (the fifth Elizabeth Goodweather  book, tentatively scheduled for an October 2011 release) showed up Friday. My editor's comments and suggestions are in pencil; the copy editor's marks are in green.(I get to use red this time.)

The copy editor also keeps track of continuity -- making sure that my dates agree, that I don't have Gloria call Elizabeth 'Lizzy' on one page and 'Lizzie' on another. My editor (Herself) is reading, I think, with an eye to writing style and to building tension, as well as making sure that what I say makes sense.
When I'm writing, I already know quite a lot about these characters and their background and motivations and if I'm not careful, I may forget that the reader doesn't have all that same information. Herself and the copy editor bring their fresh eyes to the work.

They catch me when I repeat myself; Herself pushes me to add more tension to a flat scene and suggests a better word or phrasing now and then.

It's truly a suggestion. I'm free to write 'stet' by their changes -- which means 'leave it the way I wrote it.'

I don't often disagree. This time though I've stetted my use of the lower case g when a speaker who isn't a believer says something like 'Oh my god.'  I like to save the capital G for someone actually invoking the Deity.
I love reading through these pages and polishing the words one last time. It's been months since I sent it in and it's fun to read it again.  And oh, how I love seeing which parts Herself liked -- and where the copy editor agreed!
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23 comments:

Joan said...

I could do with a blog editor that's for sure! See how I love exclamation marks. Young friend Glen is our city newspaper editor. He told me he hates them.
This is so interesting to see a work in progess, vicki. I feel very honoured to know you! That deserved an exclamation mark!! Are your books released in NZ? I believe we buy more books per head in NZ than most countries. Not certain about that but it came to mind.

Marilyn said...

Thank you so much for sharing this, it is so interesting, I didn't know anything about editing so it is fascinating to me. It must be wonderful to see your words come to life and even more wonderful to see them in book form and in book shops.

June said...

I agree with Marilyn, it's so interesting to see how the process goes! ...and how tidy the notes are! Makes me think of my high school English teacher's comments on my papers. I revered her...

Recently I've read several books in a row that did not benefit from a good copy editor's skills and I find the lack annoying. I want to make my own notes in the margins!

Martin H. said...

Fascinating to have this insight, Vicki. I have a friend who is a freelance copy-editor. It's a labour of love for her, and I can understand why.

I have had various editing roles over the years. Working with the authors to produce a polished item, fit for publication, was often challenging but, always rewarding.

Pat in east TN said...

Very interesting ... I always learn new things from you.

Elora said...

Oh, Vicki, I can feel your excitement! Thanks so much for letting us "peer" in and share it with you.

Elora

Brian Miller said...

oh yeah that nice with a heart has to make you feel good...glad they toss that in as well and not just what you need to change...

My Carolina Kitchen said...

How exciting Vicki. This is very interesting to us who've never written a book and don't know what it's like to work with an editor. That heart would make me feel as if I was on top of the world.

Sounds like everything is coming along swimmingly.
Sam

Vicki Lane said...

Something about email and commenting inspires exclamation points, Joan! I think we use them because we don't have tone of voice to convey our feelings. Newspaper editors used to call them 'screamers.'

I don't know if my books make it to bookstores in NZ - I think they show up in other English-speaking counties. Wouldn't hurt to ask!

It's still exciting, Marilyn -- though I probably won't make a special trip to the bookstore just to see the books on the shelf as I did with my first book.

June -Even with the editor, the copy editor, and myself, some errors will slip through, alas. I know what you mean, though, about wanting to correct glaring errors. My old English teacher's fingers fairly twitch.

It's hard work too, Martin, as I know from the bit of editing I've done for my writing classes.

I'm glad you all are interested at this peek behind the scenes -- I knew nothing of all of this when I began writing and still find the process fascinating.

Southwest Arkie said...

Thanks for the insight. I am a voracious reader and it's interesting to see this side of it all.

NCmountainwoman said...

I love this insight into the process and it's much like I imagined it would be. It must make you feel like a school girl again when you see words like "nice" written on your work.

Carol@ Writers Porch/ Book House said...

I just wish they would publish faster, gosh that's going to be a long wait but I plan to re-read Dark Season just before so I'm in the know. XOXO

Miss_Yves said...

What a great job!
Your post reveals a wonderful confidence between your edito and yourself.

Miss_Yves said...

www.ville-coulon.fr/
The photo of my header was taken at Coulon, a little village in the heart of a beautiful coutry called "la Venise verte " because of its canals in the marches .
It's a beautiful and quite place, where we can fish , discover the nature (by rowing )or ...paint !
The lovely house (la maison aux volets bleus)is very often photographied !

Miss_Yves said...

country

Miss_Yves said...

editor

Miss_Yves said...

/www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lsD9kf-zyI

Are you ready for rowing ?

gayle said...

I enjoyed reading this and learning more about the writing process!!

Star said...

Fascinating insight Vicki. Thanks for sharing this with us.
Blessings, Star

Michele said...

That is so interesting - you are so generous to share so much of your process with us. Please tell Herself that October 2011 is far too long to wait - we want more of Elizabeth before that (!) And I completely agree with you regarding the big G/little g issue.

Vicki Lane said...

Drat Blogger - I posted a long reply to your comments and it vanished. I'll try again.

Absolutely, NCmountainwoman! Just wish I could get a gold star...

I'm lucky, Miss Yves, to have an editor who understands what I'm trying to do and makes me better at it. And thank you for the links! This is an area of France I know nothing about.

I don't believe that it's up to Herself to set the release dates. But I like the Fall release better than May or June because the weather's better for getting around to bookstores etc.

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

I have always found editing tedious. Wonderful that you have such a fresh outlook as you approach the task. -- barbara

Tipper said...

"Nice" that had to make you feel good : )

I can't wait to read it!