Editing

Editing is not my favourite activity and I was wondering where I would rate it. Maybe between a root canal and housework. If course all three are necessary at times and sometimes quite unavoidable.

My first editing experience scarred me for life. I assumed that as an English teacher used to marking student assignments, I was capable of finding all misspellings, punctuation errors, verb tense mistakes, etc. etc. I was a rotten editor and the only decent feature of my self-published novel was the cover. And even the title was the result of an error. I had written ACCIDENTAL LIGHT but someone at the publisher’s turned that into INCIDENTAL LIGHT. I got the chance to correct the text of the novel a couple of years later but I bet I missed a whole slew of errors.

My children’s books were relatively easy to edit because of their length. When BLADE AND BLOOD was accepted by Solstice Publishing, I learned that I’d be assigned to an editor in due course. I certainly regretted writing such a long book as I waded through pages and pages of the story. It went through at least three versions. ABOUT VEE placed me in a similar editing position but at least it was a shorter book. A friend told me there was a misspelled word and I was rather surprised that she found only one.

My most recent editing task involved the two YA books that have just gone live on Amazon. Being novellas, JOKING JAMIE and HIPPO HANNA were definitely briefer. Maybe I am a novella writer at heart. One of the problems with writing is that no mater how many times I go over a page, I can always change something. But change doesn’t necessarily mean the writing is improved. Sometimes I’ve tinkered for the sake of tinkering. I need a muse with a stern voice to say to me, “Get away from the keyboard. ”

So, have I learned anything about this aspect of writing. Well, checking on names is an essential thing. If a character is Troy in one book, he can’t suddenly become Carl in the second one unless I explain why he had a name change. Continuity in fantasy names is even more confusing. I often assign a name to a person and then as I write make up my mind about the spelling. I can see by my book notes, how various names have evolved. At the moment, I am plugging away at Book 3 in my series. I want to create a totally different land with totally different names so I am playing around with apostrophes and dashes to show a family name. It has to feel right.

I guess I have learned humility. Just because my background involved correcting the errors of others doesn’t automatically mean I can catch my own mistakes. I certainly haven’t in the past and I know I will let some errors slip through a first editing session. And maybe into the second one. We all read what we expect to read. I hate to think I have left mistakes in this blog post. But perhaps, I have.

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