Editing Down to the Interesting Bits

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, One Writer's Journal

“I’m a big fan of
editing and keeping only the interesting bits in.”
Sarah Vowell
I finished up the editing on the galleys of my Rosey Corner
book, Small Town Girl, that will be
released in July. Publishing a book with a traditional publisher is often a
slow and exacting process. I know there are ways now that a writer can write a
story and have it in front of the public in days. Maybe hours as they upload to
the net and have the story available for download almost immediately. I’ve been
told it’s not even that hard once you get a few of the basics down. But I still
prefer the traditional publishing route. I like that editors are double
checking my stories and making sure my words make sense. Of course,
conscientious writers can hire editors to make sure their work is polished
before it goes live online. That’s always a good idea.
So that’s what I did last week. Polished. Corrected. Made my
words easier on the readers’ eyes. Gave the story a word by word look over to
attempt to make it the best it can be. At least, that’s the aim and with great
editors it has a better chance of happening. Fresh eyes, eyes that haven’t been
living with the story and reading it over and over can very often note things
that a writer misses. Have you ever typed something – a report, an e-mail, or
maybe a Facebook comment – and think you’ve done it without error? You may have
even proofed it, but then you hit the send button and all at once a glaring
error pops out at you.
That’s why it helps to work over the galleys to eliminate
those glaring errors. I had one in this book. I changed the name of a character
from one paragraph to the next. She was a minor character, but she definitely
needed to keep the same name all through her few moments on screen! My copy
editor didn’t catch that either. But the good thing is that this isn’t the final
read through. Next out are the pages when the writer watches for typos and
little errors. Can’t make big changes at this stage, but a wrong name could be
changed. Anyway, that’s why it’s good to dig into the galleys and make sure
I’ve eliminated all the unnecessary words and only kept the interesting parts. You
can see in the illustration that I did do some changing. I probably could find
things to change until the cows come home, (if you’re a farmer, you know getting
the cows home isn’t always easy.) But then no new stories would get written. So
there comes a time when you send it back to the editors and hope you’ve fixed
the things that needed fixing and didn’t fix things that didn’t need fixing.
With this story, I had my pet word as always. I have worn
out a number of pet words. “Just” is still a favorite. And I do love
“still.” “Of course” popped up in my book before this one.
But this time it was “before.”  What’s so wrong with “before?” I
wondered that as well, but when you use it four or five times in two or three paragraphs,
a pet word has surfaced. So I had to find ways to get rid of a lot of
befores. I have found the delete key to be a great aid in editing.
“Editing is the same as quarreling with writers – same thing
Harold Ross
Mr. Ross might be right about this for some books, but I
never feel as if the editor and I are quarreling. Not most of the time, anyway.
Instead we’re working in tandem to make my book the best it can be. I like
editors. I even like editing most of the time.
Remember I’ll be drawing three winners in a couple of weeks for
my blog giveaway. Enter by leaving a comment here or on Jocie’s Hollyhill blog,
One entry per comment on different posts.
Watch for my newsletter. Hope to get one sent out next week
with details about a giveaway to celebrate Scent
of Lilacs 
being available again. Thinking something lilac color. If you’re not signed up for the newsletter, that easy to do. Just go to my website and click on the newsletter link.
As always, thanks for reading.