Thursday, May 05, 2011

BOM: The Editing

Photo: St. Simons is famous for its marshes.

I'll be honest--I'm always a wee bit nervous when an editor tells me she's hiring a freelancer to be my editor--especially if I've never worked with that editor before. Some editors are marvelous; others make you want to tear your hair out.

(The ones who make me want to rip out my hair are the ones who change things not for a viable reason, but because of their own personal preference. Hey! Whose name is on the cover?) But honestly, I haven't run into many editors who frustrate me to that extent.

Anyway--my editor at Howard told me she was hiring Traci DePree to be my editor. Now I know Traci as an excellent writer, and she's a lovely person. But I'd never had her as an editor, so I held my breath and sent her the manuscript.

And . . . (drum roll)--she did a WONDERFUL job. A good editor obeys the maxim of "first, do no harm," and then they make the manuscript BETTER, which is exactly what Traci did. You see, by the time a writer has gone through a manuscript six or seven times, she develops blind spots, so you desperately need a pair of "fresh eyes" to evaluate your copy. And Traci did a great job of helping me tighten my prose, plus she genuinely liked the story. (I suppose an editor who didn't like your book could easily work on it, but it certainly helps if the editor understands your characters and has sympathy for them--and you.)

All that to say this: the editing was a painless affair, with no histrionics or panic attacks. I can't wait to have Traci edit my next book. :-)

Tomorrow: Q&A, so if you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below!

~~Angie

5 comments:

Mocha with Linda said...

I can't imagine the "thick skin" required for the editing process. "Here's my baby - tell me how to make it better."

And from the editor's side, to be able to be honest and kind. . .and not intimidated by the Best Selling Author's Name on the front, especially with things like "tightening prose." I can edit grammar and spelling and continuity 'til the cows come home with no problem, but the other would make me a bit nervous. I'm sure some authors are less than stellar to work with too - I would imagine there are some divas out there that don't take suggestion very well.

Have your sisters read the book and what was their response? (Because sisters can be our biggest fans and our worst critics!)

darien said...

Hi Angie...

I'm learning so much from you. I am curious about keeping the two pov straight; it's what I'm struggling with myself. Could you please give a bit more detail on that process? Thanks!

Crystal

Beverly Nault said...

Angie,
Thanks for your honesty and insight into what it's like to be edited. On a similar subject, my critique group has been wondering if there is a good resource for specific steps in peer critique, so we get the best bang for our voluntary buck. Any advice?

Blessings on all your projects, loving the step by step writer's diary format!
Bev

Ginny Jaques said...

I totally agree about the need to have the "right" editor. And for us unpubs, the right one doesn't have to be a professional. I've found a great (peer) critique partner who understands where I'm going, likes where I'm going, and give me advice on getting there that's pro quality. This guy (Alan Oathout) could make a living at this editing business, if he weren't so busy writing his first novel himself.

Carolyn said...

Angie, I loved this book. Maybe because I know your sisters and your mother very well. My daughter is now reading it on her Kindle and she can't put it down. Thank you for being such an excellent writer as I've read most of your books and I loved every one of them. I can't wait for the next one. Carolyn