Sunday, February 17, 2013

Editing Confessions

Ever since Divertir decided to publish Kindar's Cure, I've imagined what it would be like to work with a professional editor. Stressed over it would be a better description. What kind of changes would an editor demand? I worried about renaming characters, cutting scenes or whole chapters, a word count goal to meet, and gaping plot holes to close. Large scale sacrifices. So far none of that has happened.

Instead the work has been focused on smaller things, such as word choice and single versus double quotes. Big sigh of relief. My lovely  and dedicated editor did set me a task: paragraph merging. Seems my idea of when to start a new paragraph and the rules of paragraphs don't exactly coincide.

Funny, how all the things you imagine about something come nowhere near the actual. I never gave a thought to paragraphs when I dreamed of working with an editor. Paragraphs flew well under my radar. It's not a subject that my critique partners and I ever discuss or point out to each other. Paragraphs are just there, much like periods and spaces. Part of the picture, but not a critical part. Oops. Time to rethink that.

And as I was looking for places where paragraphs should be merged, I was also looking for other editing goofs. And boy did I find them. A couple of verbs with the wrong tense. Two spots with character names spelled wrong that my eye must have missed at least a dozen times. A word I changed using 'Find and Replace', but didn't search for that word when it had a punctuation mark after it so all those got skipped. Yikes!

Then there are the words that always trip me up. The certain words that my critique partners find and point out to me time and again. Words that I now know to do a search for because they'll be wrong, wrong, wrong. For me, those words are cheek,conscience, wield, steel, and wince. A blush rose in her check. He welded the sword. She winched. The sort of mistakes that would be embarrassing to miss. I'm sure there are many more goofs to find. Fingers crossed my editor can pick out the rest.

 So how about you? Got any confessions to make? Are there certain words that trip you every time? Does paragraphing fly under your radar? Confession is good for the soul so please share in the comments. Now I have to steel away. Wink.    


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    1. A good read, Michelle, thanks for sharing; and, yes, until your post pointed it out I've been just as guilty of writing paragraphs without a thought about when and where to begin one to maximize the storyline. Thanks again for sharing some insights.

      *edited due to spelling error

  2. LOL Those wrong word things are funny. Like writing gaffs or bloopers.

    I'm not an expert, but I think you're experience is most rare. For most writers, even when they edit two dozen times, with a book that has many, many drafts, when the MS gets picked up by a publisher, it goes through at least one more heavy draft where the big things that you were worried about do come up. If it goes to an agent first, it often does another edit, then still another when it gets to a publisher after. I don't think most beginning writers have any idea how much editing actually goes on with a book, post submission, but it happens because everyone invested in the book is trying to give it it's best chance by making it as marketable as possible, but the trouble is, everyone's tastes for what is marketable as so subjective. For an MS to end up with only line editing to worry about the first time out, especially for a first timer, but even for a veteran, is extremely rare. Consider yourself lucky.

    Funny, paragraphs are something I also don't think I do well. I doubt if my idea of when when they should start and end coincides with the rules either. LOL. I often look at mine, wondering if I'm doing it right.

    For me, problem words are words I can't remember how to spell no matter how often I write them or look them up. Schedule, Relief, Their. I get the i and the e backwards every time. And I had to look Schedule up to spell it right, here.

    Thanks for sharing this. And I'm going to end this extremely long comment now, before people notice how longwinded I am. LOL.

  3. You know I will be paying more attention to paragraphs when I read published books now.

    Separate is a word I finally learned how to spell correctly, Raven. :D I still get embarrassed wrong. Thank you spell check!

  4. This is really interesting insight Michelle, and thank you for sharing your experience. What good advice to look for real words in the ms that might be misspelled by us and yet go unnoticed when doing a doc check b/c the word we accidentally typed in simply isn't misspelled?

    That indeed has happened to me many times. Can't wait for KINDAR'S CURE to come out!

  5. So interesting! It's always interesting to see what others find in the ms! I'm a big fan of Find and Replace to - it helps so much, as does Wordle for showing me what words to find and replace :)

  6. I always use the same words over and over :( Thanks for sharing this though! I think I might have paragraph-ending confusion as well :(

  7. repitive. Ripetitive. GRRR. Repetive? *head desk* repetitive. HA!!!