Thursday, July 05, 2007
BOM: The Editing
The editing of THE ELEVATOR was fairly routine, as I recall. My editors at Steeple Hill had excellent suggestions, and I was happy to take a look and make some tweaks. Since I know backstory and facts about my characters, I have a tendency to assume the reader knows--or intuits--the same things. My editors usually point out those places where I've been expecting my readers to be mind-readers.
I'm always grateful for good editors--they make me look far better than I am.
One thing I remember about The Elevator was that my editors suggested that I enhance Eddie's character by making him more overtly Christian. I had intended him to be a Christ-figure and not overt because this is a parable story, but I realized they were right . . . some readers expect more Christian content on the surface of the story. I made the changes because they fit with Eddie's character . . . wasn't he a great guy? I really liked him.
And I can't neglect to mention the very real and nonfictional Michael Garnier. I think I've mentioned him in the past, but Michael was recommended to me by Randy Singer (a great novelist!). Michael is a lawyer who specializes in elevator cases, and he was invaluable in making sure my elevator was correct and credible in every detail.
I quickly discovered--this is more about the writing than the editing, actually--that every time I've seen people popping out of elevators in movies and on TV--it isn't going to happen in real life. Elevator "escape hatches" are always locked from the outside because the experts don't want people climbing out of elevators. And there are no ladders in elevator shafts--even though I've read other novels where a ladder just happened to be conveniently placed in the shaft. Bzzzzt! Wrong answer. But Michael told me how a man could climb out of a shaft--it ain't easy, but it's possible. Well, for some people it's possible. I couldn't do it. My arms are about as strong as wet noodles.
This week Michael sent me the picture of "rail climbers" (click it to enlarge). Apparently elevator crew members can climb the rails wearing these things, but I'm not sure they could manage to walk down the hall. Needless to say, Eddie isn't wearing them in THE ELEVATOR.
So--with help from my editors Krista and Joan and Michael, the book managed to get written and edited.
Tomorrow: results and reader reaction.