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LINE EDITING – A WHOLE DIFFERENT ANIMAL

March 5, 2015

For those of you who’ve never gone through it yet, once you get that brass ring and a publishing deal, you’re in for a real treat when you get to the editing stages! Content editing is where you hash out the plot, major and minor story tweaks. If you’re not prepared, that can be a real blow to the ego. If you’re a true writer, it’s just part of the process and can actually be fun.

If you think content editing is a blow to the ego, wait until you get to line editing! When you get your pristine manuscript back full of red ink, that can be an even bigger blow to your ego if you think you’re hot stuff!

BEEN THERE DONE THAT

As an editor myself, I’ve been on both sides of the coin. I’ve bled as well as been bled on. Recently, I was on the receiving end. Not long ago, I talked about Meleena’s Adventures – Treasure Of The Umbrunna and going through content editing. With that out of the way, it went to the line editor and she did an outstanding job. I received it not long ago and she bled all over it!

FOREST THROUGH THE TREES

If I had any sort of ego before, it would’ve been torn to pieces after I got a look at my masterpiece. It took a bit of time to go through the content edit, but the line edit is a very meticulous process. I was happy for the sometime four or five pages at a time with no changes, but then there would be ten or more with change after change. I’d have to go through each one, either approve or deny them, then move on.

The trick is to make the corrections in each paragraph, then re-read the whole paragraph to make sure it still makes sense. Then as I’m going along, I may catch a few more little tweaks that neither I nor either editor caught the last time.

Have I ever told you how many times I’ve gone through this MS before I ever got it to this publisher? Oh, and I also read the entire story to the writer’s group and made many of their recommended changes, on top of these read-throughs and several other people doing beta reads.

THE STRIVE FOR PERFECTION

There’s no way to make a book perfect, but the more sets of eyes, and the more times it gets read and re-read, the fewer obvious mistakes and blunders will show up in the final product. I strive to make Meleena’s story as perfect as possible, but I’m also a realist. Despite who I consider top-notch editors and my own skills, I’m resigned to the fact that something is going to slip by. I just hope it isn’t too egregious.

BE PREPARED

If you think you can write sloppy and expect your editor or editors to do all the fixing, you’re being unfair to yourself, to them and ultimately to your readers. I try to write the best I can and despite that, stuff slips through, as evident from the many edits I’m seeing. If you write like crap, you are not only putting an extra burden on everyone else, but are leaving that door wide open for those crappy mistakes to slip through for the readers to find.

Don’t let that stuff happen. Hone your craft. Learn the basics and keep working at it.

Also, don’t forget that no matter how good you think you are, there’s always a second set of eyes that can bleed all over your perfect prose!

Happy writing!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 5, 2015 1:51 am

    Fred,
    This is great. I look forward to going through the process with my creative fiction novel. Kudos my friend:)
    Tina

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