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Friday, January 14, 2011

PHANTASM FRIDAY


Insert "EDITS" for "PC" in this photo! :P

REALITIES OF EDITS...AN AUTHOR'S PERSPECTIVE

Are edits a hair tearing frustration for you? Or a joyful ride down memory lane relearning all the delightful quirks of your characters?

For me, it is a smidgen of both. I'm exhausted from a week of edits, so I really have nothing to say. I sent in the edits yesterday and I feel brain dead, like I need to reboot my brain so I can actually focus on something else.

These edits weren't minor (at least not to me). They were overhauling edits that altered the storyline. Altered so much, I'll have to fine-tooth my way through book 2 to make the necessary changes. In the beginning I was frustrated by the request to alter the storyline somehow. After being forced to rethink my story, I started to see what the editor was saying. So, I cranked up my creative dial and demanded Muse spew forth something awesome. (Muse was not happy with me. *evil giggle* It's always fun to get him back for the torture he inflicts on me.) Not sure if I came up with something awesome, but I'm very proud of and excited about what my Muse did create!! That's progress, right?



But...what will my editor think? Yikes! I feel like a fresh-faced teenager whose bestfriend has just told the hot boy in third period I like him. My belly is twisting with excitement and dread. Because what if the boy doesn't like me back? Ahem...I mean what if my editor doesn't like the changes as much as I do? You see my dilemma? I respect my editor's opinion (even if she thinks I don't) and I really, really want her to love this new storyline! *bites nails as I endure the wait*

Share your editing misery with us! Or editing joy if you're brave enough to rub it in our faces. ;-) I'd love to hear from our editors too!! Come tell us how awful us authors are, how irrational and whiny. LOL I know we are and so do you!

I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!

~huggles~

Gracen

(All photos were snagged from Photobucket. I do not own these photos and no copyright infringement was intended.)

34 Moonbeams (comments):

Maureen said...

Gracen, I wrote a blog about my experiences with editing for the Revenge a few months back... The five stages of editing. So I know where you're coming from.

I argued and pled with my editor for some things and for the most part...I lost. But she was right. I still mourn the slow moments I felt were such a part of character development, but they were slow moments...so she was right.

Kate, if you read this...you were right.

And I still miss them. Sigh.

That's about the way it goes with editing, I've decided. You learn what is going to work on the grander scale, even if, as the author, we want to focus on the smaller side of things.

I learned a great deal of the nuts and bolts of things to look for and somehow added 5k words in the first pass through. But they made it a better book! Even if I was told not to do that again!

*evil cackle

Gracen Miller said...

Uh oh...I added entire chapters and upped the word count by about 7K. I may get my hands slapped. ;-)

Definitely agree with you though. I spent the first day bitching and not doing much. When I mentally slapped myself and refused to listen to any more bitching, that's when my Muse kicked into high gear and went wacky. I think I should have a National Celebrate the Awesomeness of your Muse Day!! He deserves the recognition. =D

Like you, I really miss some of the scenes I removed, BUT I "think" what I added in its place makes the story stronger. I hope I'm right and not deluding myself. lol

Redameter said...

I've had ups and downs with editors. Some great things have happened, some not so great.

I used to have one that frustrated the heck out of me, she said when they say "I love you" that's the end. Well, no, I don't agree. The reader needs to know and sometimes see just how happy they are, that's what makes those fuzzies in your stomach.

But I'm the first to admit, I need an editor. Especially on my grammar and punctuation. The rules of this have changed so much over the years that I can't keep up. When I was a kid they used commas a lot, now, not as much.

If an editor sees things that you don't, like, "hey, she can't see her own eyes", I agree totally. And believe me I've done that a million times. POV is something I usually have to work on. What's funny is you don't see all this till they point it out. Embarrassing is what it is.

I defend most of my storyline unless is is so weak it won't fly no matter what. I agree though that I overlook a lot of little things and am glad they catch them.

However, I am confident which is strange because I used not to be, but I feel my story holds sand most of the time and will defend it.

Gracen Miller said...

Howdy, Redameter, I was shocked by the number of times I used certain words over and over again. Very embarassing...more so that I didn't catch them they're so obvious!

I sent a lot of defensive emails to the editor...but ultimately, I do think she was RIGHT in some very important ways! I wish Dana was here to hear that. lol

Like you, I need an editor. My husband said the other day I should get into editing other people's books. I died laughing, to which I received a blank stare and an enraged, "I was serious." My laughter was serious too. I showed him all the changes to my first round of edits and he shrugged, saying something like 'it was the editor's opinion and didn't make her right'. I love his blind faith in me, but he's terribly wrong. lol

Rie McGaha said...

In the beginning I thought edits were to show me I should just give up any thoughts of being published! As I've grown as a writer and author, edits are my favorite part of the process. I love being edited and the tougher the editor, the more I like them. The only problem I have with edits is when an editor insists they are right and I am wrong. In one book in particular I had a prologue written and the editor cut it completely. Since then reviewers have said there is something missing...yes, I know, it's the freaking prologue!

And Gracen, editing other peoples work is one of the best ways to be a better writer. I agree with your husband. I began editing a year ago and I like to think of myself as a tough editor...now. At first I was afraid to hurt someone's feelings but you know what? This business isn't about feelings, it's about presenting the best work possible. So I may walk on a few feelings but that separates the serious writers from the authors who just want to see their name on a book cover.

Gracen Miller said...

Seriously, Rie, you canNOT agree with my husband! It'll give him a big head and he already thinks he's inching to the side of perfect. ;-)

The editor never hurt my feelings and I never took anything she said personally...even if I didn't like to hear what she was saying. If she can put up with all my "yammering" back at her comments, she's the saint in this situation. I may bitch and moan, but she still challenged me to make the story better. I really do think it's a better story because of her. Without her, I'd never have seen the need to alter anything. It's my baby, I know best, right? Not always true...I don't always know what's best as a parent of my children either. I just stumble around and hope I'm doing what's best for them, praying they'll grow into fine adults. Others might be able to see what I'm doing wrong, but I can't. It's the same with my story, I've got blinders on, the editor doesn't.

Maybe I should have an Honor your Editor Day along with honoring our Muses....Hmmm...

Huggles,
G

Sarah Ballance said...

I went into edits with my first book HOPING I'd be slaughtered because I knew the story needed something, but I was too green to know what. My editor rocked it. She deleted a few scenes (with my blessing) and told me I was an easy edit. I told her she didn't make me cry once. It was a beautiful relationship. ;c)

My second edit was really light. I was blessed with the adjective "clean" and none of the scenes were changed - just my goofs like "descended down" and some of the local language for the readers who may not understand redneck.

So far, I've been EXTREMELY happy with my editing experiences. Now - tick tock - I'm afraid I'll be hit with a bad one, LOL.

Enjoyed this post, Gracen!

Becca Dale said...

In defense of editors.:-D

Personally, I adore my editors. I would not be able to say I am proud of my work without them. That doesn't mean I don't fight them on some things if it is important to me, all authors should, but I certainly consider and appreciate their input. I am a fairly clean writer, but often I read over my mistakes because I know what I intended to say.

Also, because I have my characters' entire lives running around in my head, I somehow assume that readers will understand the motivation behind a character's actions. Not so. Coincidentally, Gracen, I added 7K to an MS not that long ago as well. The editor kept saying she didn't understand my hero or (gasp - cry - get pissy) didn't like him in places. I had to really consider why she felt that way and address it. I think it made the story much stronger in the end, but it almost killed me at the time.

Gracen Miller said...

Hey, Sarah...so you're one of the brave ones flinging it in our faces, huh? LOL My experience with Noble was easy too. I altered one scene, but that was after the editor and I both expressed hesitation with it. I'd only left the scene in to begin with because my girlfriend said "don't you dare remove it", but it bothered me and didn't fit accurately into the storyline. If it bothers me, it's too much because nothing bothers me.

LOL @ redneck lingo. My husband IS a redneck in a suit and tie...okay, well, technically, he wears a "uniform" now and the suit and tie is out, but he's still what folks call a "business man". He loves to deer hunt and has a garden, which shocks all his co-workers. He cleans up well and they don't have a clue how big a redneck he is! LOL Gotta love rednecks. ;-) At least I do, because I can't get away from the rednecks in Alabama. I remember one instance in the current edits where the editor didn't understand my lingo. I corrected it and moved on.

Huggles,
G

Gracen Miller said...

Becca, I hope I didn't give the wrong impression because my post really is NOT about bashing my editor. Without her pushing me when I didn't want to be pushed, I wouldn't have the storyline I have now. I'd bear hug her right now if I could get my hands on her. That's still assuming, of course, she accepts my changes, but I'm proud of my story now, whereas before, I was proud, but there was that edge of something missing.

I had a beta-reader tell me she didn't much like my heroine at the beginning of this current story. Like you, I was gasping over WHY? She clarified with the fact she didn't like the "judgments" my character made. I can live with that. lol

I do the same as you, I know the characters so well, I don't understand why readers don't understand what motivates them. It's clear in my head, it should be in theirs too. Thank God for editors catching stuff like that!!

Huggles,
G

Nichelle Gregory said...

Digging into edits for a book for the first time is always a mixed bag of anticipation and nervousness to see what they've found/disliked/added/ect...but, I'm with Rie, I want the tough editor every time.

When we've finally finished, I know I written the best story possible which is what I'm sure you've just done, Gracen!

7K added plus other edits...wowzers! Can't wait to read it! ;-)

Gracen Miller said...

Agree completely with you, Nichelle! On everything. I was excited and nervous with the first round of edits. A tough editor is the only way to go. A reader will catch any plot holes or screw ups the editor and I don't. I could do without that embarassement! =D

Huggles,
Gracen

Cara Marsi said...

Gracen, I share your pain. I've had edits that made me groan when I saw yet another email from the editor. I've had edits that went smoothly and ones that made me want to rant and rave. After reading the same book for what felt like 30 times, I wanted to throw the computer out the window. But when all was said and done, the editors were right and they made the stories stronger.

Decadent Publishing said...

Gracen, one thing about writing and editing is that....as a writer, you see everything in your head. You see the steam rolling from the concrete, the music filtering from the open window if the beat up 72 Mustang on the corner, you smell the old sweat on the guy who just passed you on the sidewalk in front of the Jewish deli....you know, the one that sells THE best bagels this side of you aunt Jeri's front door.


But...and here is the big point...your editor is there to make sure WE see it, WE smell it, WE taste it. WE want to be IN that place with you, and it's all about us editors making sure you writers put us smack dab in the middle of your scene and getting the most out of every word.

Heather
Decadent Publishing

Gracen Miller said...

*blinks at Cara* You're reading my mind! I just said to my husband last night that I was sick to death of this book. And I've just begun edits. Bad place to be this early into the edits. Weirdly, I'm itching to alter book 2 to reflect the changes, but I know I must wait until I hear from my editor.

Thanks for sharing!

Huggles,
Gracen

Gracen Miller said...

Heather, thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy day to weigh in on this topic! ~huggles ya~

I gotta say, being in the middle of some of my scenes is ScArY and I'd never want to be there in real life! lol But, you're right, us authors need you editors (or THIS author needs you editors), to make our stories shine like beacon's of light in the reader's mind AND to point out plot similiarties to other works of art that have no business being in my storyline. Kudos to you guys because I couldn't see it until I looked through Dana's eyes...even if I was forced to look only after kicking and screaming.

Huggles,
Gracen

Leanne Dyck said...

I always think what I write is gold--what writer doesn't. So I am surprised to read comments from my beta readers, critique partners and editors saying, "Ah...what?" However, I find that feedback like that helps me to dig deep and deliver. (It takes me a while to get there--but I do get there). It also helps for me to realize that we all team mates in this writing game. : )

Keira Kroft said...

I am an editor, writer and Voracious Reader.

Editors are a necessary evil :)I have impressed people with my editing skills, they are very good, but that only applies to other peoples work. I have great difficulty getting my own work up to an editor’s standard. Having someone sitting at a desk looking down their nose at your work raises many emotions—frustration, a feeling of not being a good writer, and a need for stiff brandy, ect. Editing has nothing to do with writing they are apples and oranges, we fail to see our own work clearly, because we know it too well.

So that being said, there are other sides to it.

One side is that editors are almost like defense attorneys prepping their witness for court. They grill you with questions that might be asked by the other lawyer in order to have you to prepare. Because once you’re out there in front of the jury, or worse readers, they want to make sure that every possible base has been covered and no one can make any legitimate claims against your work.

Editing and writing are very different, so I think it’s important to remember that you both have a distinct job to do. If two or more people are working on a project, it’s like writers on TV show, creative people bouncing ideas off one another. So there is no reason to be frustrated. No one is better than the other, your just working from different views to same desired outcome, nothing wrong with that.

And as far as the sweet girl that had the light edits, just remember that there are those “Women” out there that have a baby in thirty minutes, without breaking a sweat or having any drugs, LOL :) I feel the same way about them, LOL :)

Hugs, Keira Kroft

P.S. Sssshh, don’t tell my editor I was here, I am suppose to be tackling my own novel right now. But, it was just a short break :D

Gracen Miller said...

Leanne, us authors never make mistakes! ;-) I wish. It'd be nice to be a perfect writer. You're right, writing can be lonesome, but it also needs a team to make what's been written awesome. We gotta thank our team of editors for that.

Huggles,
Gracen

Gracen Miller said...

*hides Kiera so her editor doesn't see her dawdling* ;-)

Howdy, Kiera, thanks so much for your thoughts. Wow, your attorney analogy socked me in the gut. I'm a paralegal by trade, so talk about terms I could understand and what a fabulous way of putting it! After that description and knowing how much work an attorney/paralegal puts into prepping a case for trial, I think my editor needs a hugs or at least chocolate for putting up with me!

LOL @ women who have babies without drugs. I don't even want to be one of those women. I have no desire to be a pioneer woman in the era of fantastic drugs. Kudos to those women that do, but are they CrAzY??? I think so.

Huggles,
Gracen

Keira Kroft said...

Thanks for hiding me Gracen.

I think it’s easier to do things when we understand why they are necessary.

Oh, what I meant by no drugs is that some women pop that kid out like it was nothing and they don’t need aides of any kind. I suffered through 24hrs of labor, oh wait…I was rewarded with that lemon Q-tip, which by the way did not quench my thirst at all, LMAO :)

Gracen Miller said...

ROFL @ Keira and the lemon Q-tip. I'm close to the same boat as you...21 and 19 hours of labor. And the 19 hours of labor ended in an emergency C-section. I wish we could have started with the C-section, would have saved so much time!! LOL

AllureVanSanz said...

I'm a big fan of edits...normally.

My full length received some edits recently that will take me a while and this will be the 8th edit. LOL Why bother? Well, this story is special to me. I wrote it with a friend who I'd do anything for, and I'm determined to get this book published even though I wrote it before I knew what I know now. (You know what that means! lol) In this case, the edits can seem like a step back, not because they don't improve the story, they do, but after struggling with the story for a while, it feels a little like a step back when I could be working on new things that wouldn't require as much time. Sounds horrible I know. LOL

Ah well. Wouldn't be much of a career if I didn't have to work hard at it sometimes. ::grins::

All my best,
Allure

Kathleen said...

I wish I could read throught a manuscript with an editors eye. It would save so much time. Having someone tell you about changing your (baby) can be overwhelming. But, after the initial read, I knew what she meant.

Robert C Roman said...

I love edits, and I've loved working with my editor(s). Why are y'all looking at me like that? I'm serious. I knew for years that there were things in my writing that neither I nor my beta readers were seeing, things that I needed to fix.

Trouble is you can't fix something if you don't know what it is.

My last set of edits I was actually a little surprised when they were over. I was thinking 'we've got about two rounds to go, right?', but the response came back 'OK, going over for final line edits now'. I was so disappointed. :-)

Carrie said...

With all the classes and workshops I've taken, I've learned one thing - in order to really see what an editor sees, you need to separate yourself from your work.

For me, my editing hat and reading hat always stay on - there's no way for me to differentiate one from the other.

When I read, I spot mistakes and pet peeves instantly, and at the same time gauge for flow, character and plot complexities, etc.

That being said, I'm always looking to improve what I do, and I can easily separate myself from my work.

Editing, though, is subjective and there isn't always a "right" answer.

For example, I'm not a fan of incomplete sentences. All of my sentences must be complete and follow the laws of grammar, but some editors will let that kind of thing go...for whatever reason.

That's each individual editor's right, I guess. Me, here are a few questions that I ask myself when reading any book - especially my own:
1. Am I submerged in the setting? If not, why not? What's missing?

2. Am I able to bond with the two main characters (hero and heroine) if no other character? If not, why not?

3. Even if I don't "bond" with all of the characters, can I still get a good sense of who they are and why they do what they do? Does it feel like something is missing from the story explaining a character's actions or motivation?

4. Are the characters strong and complex? If not, does it hurt the story?

5. Is the plot strong enough? Are there the right amount of obstacles? Does it feel too easy for the character to succeed or does it feel like such a quagmire as to be ridiculous?

6. Is the overall storyline working for me? Should there be more subplots or less subplots? Is there just too much going on that the reader gets frayed?

7. As I am a strong proponent of the "show don't tell" method of storytelling, I prefer more information being relayed through dialogue and a character's thoughts rather than pure information dumps - that feels like a cop out and takes away from the strength and power of a good story.

8. Just how tight is the writing?

As for my own writing:
- Do I find myself referring back to something not in the text to explain something? If so, fix it!

As for editing:
There are some authors who believe that the words a character speaks should be written in perfect grammar, even if they don't speak that way.

I don't believe that. As long as the speech pattern isn't too difficult for a reader to figure out and is consistent, then I generally won't touch it - unless it feels wrong for a given dialect (English, Aussie, Scottish, Irish, etc)

If something a character does irritates you, such as over uses a certain word, like an endearment - that's okay, as long as it goes toward defining that character. If it irritates someone, and that's what it's supposed to do, then you've accomplished your mission! :)

I think that's why I'm slow about getting something out there, I'm too busy editing as I go. Right now, I'm still working on building my world. It's very complex, so the problem will be to make the transition for a reader feel seamless. I need to make sure there are enough details covered so the reader can identify with the characters, even though some of them are not necessarily human.

Great topic Gracen!

Deena said...

I'm going to share a wonderful event in editing for me. I am so proud of what I did. There I was, reading my editor's comments and then I see them. A comment with an expletive. And another! Don't worry, it was only because I had made her cry, and cry again. In fact, every time my editor read over my story, she couldn't stop crying at particular parts. Trinity now has a nickname between us that I cherish. :)

Gracen Miller said...

Allure, all your hardwork on your edits will be well worth it when it's out there for the world to see and love. Hardwork definitely never hurt anyone.

Huggles,
Gracen

Gracen Miller said...

Kathleen, I would LOVE to be able to look at my book with an editor's eye. It's save sooooo much time! lol

Huggles,
Gracen

Gracen Miller said...

Aww...Robert I'm excited you had such an amazing time with edits! I believe every book can be improved and while the person I turn to read all my books catches a bunch of things, even she doesn't catch it all. So, thankfully, we have editors to catch the rest.

Huggles,
Gracen

Gracen Miller said...

Carrie, I believe my characters should be written the way they speak. So my southern characters should say "y'all" and "ain't" and "heck naw". Otherwise, it isn't real.

I think incomplete sentences can make an impact and shouldn't always be removed from the storyline. But that's just my opinion.

Huggles,
Gracen

Gracen Miller said...

What a wonderful story, Deena! You should be proud of yourself and your writing. Moving anyone to tears with your story is something you should be screaming to the world!

Fantastic job!!

Huggles,
Gracen

Stephanie Williams said...

So far I have not had a bad experience with an editor. No one wanted to change my story or anything like that.

The only thing I hate, and I'll be the first to admit I bring it on myself, is getting my manuscript back and all my passive verbs are highlighted and too many Track Changes. Mine are in red, what color are yours. LOL!

Anywho, it helps make me a better writer, and you know what? I am going through stories now and highlighting my passive verbs AND going back to replace them before I send them out now.

Gracen Miller said...

Howdy, Stephanie. All my track changes are red too so it looks like I've bled all over the page. LOL But that's okay, it is making our book stronger. I'm doing the same as you, in my WIP I've already gone through and highlighted all my passive verbs. Hopefully, I can polish it a little better than this one before I sub it.

I'm not saying I had a bad experience, and I guess that's what my blog sounds like. Yes, I was frustrated by the initial request, but it's like with any disagreement once I took a step away from it, considered the editors POV, I saw what she was saying and I made the necessary changes. It didn't mean I had a bad experience, it was just a learning process. Next time, I'll listen a little more first and there's nothing wrong with that. =D

Thanks for stopping by and again, welcome to the DP family!