“Truth is, every writer has to be a good editor, and you have to edit yourself. It is a skill every writer has to acquires.” ~Lisa Scottoline
Got the pages for my Christmas novel last week for one more read through. Someday I’m going to keep count of how many times I read through a story before it finally gets into the hands of readers. Maybe I can’t count that high! :). No, not that many times, but I do read it numerous times. I’ve probably read completely through a story I’ve written at least five times before I mail it off to the publishers. Maybe more. That doesn’t count the times I read individual scene or chapters or the times I read it after the story is in the editing stage before being published. A person can’t see what needs editing if a person doesn’t look for it.
I don’t mind editing. Well, most of the time. There have been occasions where the requested edits took some thought and seemed difficult on first look. A few times, they looked difficult on second look!! But it got done. There are other times like this particular read through on my Shaker Christmas book that there are no real changes to make, just little glitches to perhaps catch before the book is printed. I caught one of those on page one of this book. At this stage, it’s too late for major edits. I had plenty of chances for that in all those read throughs earlier on.
But it is amazing how, no matter how carefully you read, a few things will slip past you. An ‘it’ will be written as ‘if’ or vice versa. Even the most careful editing eye lets little things like that slip past from time to time.
But once I’ve done these last edits on Christmas at Harmony Hill, I’ll be ready to rush toward the end of my work in progress. I’m thinking positive on that rush toward the end. My deadline is not that many weeks away with lots of busyness going on other than writing scheduled into those weeks. Prayers appreciated.
But now, just for fun, here’s the first paragraph of Sister Sophrena showing up in this story. I really liked Sister Sophrena. She was the journal writer in The Gifted. It was such fun letting her come back to be one of my headline characters in this Christmas story. I do hope the lady I met a few years ago named Sophrenia at the Redbud Festival will see the stories. I told her when I met her that someday I’d name a character after her. I did change the spelling slightly.
Sophrena Prescott arose from bed at the first toll of the Shaker rising bell the way she had for the last twenty-five years. Habits clung to her like lint to a dark cloak. The other sisters in the room were also getting out of bed at the sound of the bell.
Time to be up and the day to begin. Chores awaited. Beds to make. Floors to sweep. Biscuits to cook. She had kitchen duty. Not a bad duty for November when the warmth of the ovens was welcome instead of suffocating the way it was in the summer months. ….
Forgive me, Lord. She pushed the words silently toward the heavenly Father. Truly the most sincere prayer words she’d offered in days.
That’s a final “take” as the movie directors say. But it’s hard to say how many “takes” it took me to get to this “wrap.”
Does it bother you when you’re reading if you notice mistakes? Do you think it possible to catch every mistake is this day and age? What kind of writing mistakes and editing misses bother you the most?
Thanks for reading!