Thursday, March 29, 2012

Handling Edits/Revisions

I turned in my latest book yesterday to my editor and it got me thinking about edits. Every author's process is different and I can only speak to what I do personally. I know my goal is to submit the cleanest manuscript I can at the time. Does that mean it is free of errors? No. I'm not perfect. And I doubt editors expect us to be perfect in the first place.

When I initially submit a book to one of my editors, I've been over the thing so many times I'm sick of looking at it. Typically, I write a first draft and put the book aside for around a month. When I take it back out again, the book is printed out and I attack it with a red pen. I'm mostly looking for misspelled words. Continuity errors. Missing punctuation. And generally anything that doesn't look right. When everything's transferred to the computer, my CP and beta readers get a crack at it. When I've gotten it back from everyone, I go through the book again fixing things they've pointed out, looking at their suggestions and deciding what needs to change, if that's the case. Then I go back over it again - twice (as I said, by the time I submit the book, I'm sick of looking at it).

Sure, this a lot of tedious work, but it sure does make for an extremely clean manuscript that gets subbed to my editor. It also means, if the book is accepted, edits are pretty painless and I could feasibly get through them in a day. Do I? Nope. I go through the book again, aside from my editors comments and look for things.

And this doesn't mean I haven't had to do revisions. I have. I've gotten revision letters before. In fact, I had one where I ended up adding 10K words by the time I handed the book back in. Revisions are handled the same way as if the book were fresh out of the gate. I just attack each item one at a time. Usually the important thing to remember for revisions is something you change is going to effect something down the line in your story, so it's really a matter of being conscious about everything that happens. Again, turning in revisions is the same as turning in the manuscript initially for me: Turn in the cleanest book you can at the time.

I've had people ask why I go through all of that. Why I go over and over the book numerous times such as I do. The answer is simple: It's my name on the cover of that book...

Writers, do you have a process that you follow when it comes to edits (even just personal ones)?

***

Also, time is winding down on The Romance Reviews Book of the Year votes (ends Mar 31--this weekend!). While you don't have to vote for my books that are nominated (PERFECT LIMIT for Best Erotic Romantic Science Fiction / Futuristic and RAGGED EDGE for Best GLBT Menage a Trois (or more) Romance) I would sure appreciate it!

Click here to see the entire list.

1 comment:

S. J. Maylee said...

My first WIP has been kind of a mess of write, edit, write, edit...I'm not giving up on it, it's my 1st baby and it will get there
With my 2nd WIP, where I've already learned from many mistakes, I'm working on just getting it written. Once the 1st draft is done I plan to follow the pattern you've set in the hopes that I will proudly put my name on it
Thanks Sara!