More About Editing

We are going to continue our editing theme for premium content. What sort of comments does an editor make is a question I have been asked multiple times. It depends on the editor and writer. For example, when I am going through the content of one writer’s book, I tend to write snarky, sarcastic comments to get her to rethink whatever it is that has irked me. Another writer I’ve read content for doesn’t have my sense of humor and doesn’t get sarcasm so I have to be quite detailed about what has raised my ire. However, I will also admit that my snark and sarcasm is reserved for a single author because I know she can and will laugh at it. My editors are less of a jerk than I am as an editor and most of their comments are to the point and lack my sarcasm. So, for this premium content post I’m going to show you guys the section and the comment my editor made on it. Again we are looking at Dysfunctional Dreams. Most of the 134 comments in Dysfunctional Dreams are serious comments that require me to work on a sentence or paragraph or idea, but there are always a few that are fun. I have included a selection of all the types of comments I get in a book. Including the comment that required an entire chapter be added.

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Because comments require me to do more than accept/reject, I tackle all comments first. This way when I am accepting/rejecting comments the stuff I have had to change due to a comment to clarify, fix, remove, add, etc, is included. Usually, the number of revisions I start out with is significantly lower than the number of revisions I have after addressing all the comments. Also, as you can see, sometimes a sentence or idea is perfectly clear to me, but not to the editor. I live by the rule that if it isn’t clear to the editor, it won’t be clear to the reader either.

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These two posts cover the main “this is what’s involved with editing” points for me. As I said last week, because the first round of edits focus primarily on content, there are way more comments and rewrites involved in the first round of edits and they take more time than the second. Obviously, I did not include all 134 comments from Dysfunctional Dreams, you don’t need to see that I kept switching up the name of the cult even though it was in my plot points document and she started randomly assigning words to the cult name in the comments to draw my attention to it.

Editing

A lot of writers complain about the editing process. Normally, I love it, but lately it has been exhausting. I don’t know why, but I’m blaming 2020. Today’s behind the scenes peek is about editing and what I see when an editor sends a book back to me.

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Which might help explain why I rarely read my own books. By the time they publish, I have reviewed them about 20 times. And while the accept/reject buttons make it go quickly, I still have to read the books while using them because most of the time, I need to know what is going on in a specific spot to know whether to accept or reject a change. Even when they are “standard” grammar or spelling errors.

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First round of edits.

My example is Dysfunctional Dreams. I have 2 screenshots from it to show you. The first is just the main screen of changes: You can see how many insertions/deletions the editor made as well as the number of comments they made. I always address the comments first, because they usually mean I need to work on something. Comments mean rewrites, explanations, clarifications, or an expansion on that section is necessary. Dysfunctional Dreams had 121 comments when the first editor sent it back to me. One of them actually led to an entire chapter being added to the book to better explain Edgar Randolph’s motivations. I’ll explain now what you are looking at: On the left is the review changes window. This gives me a list of all changes as well as totals. Total Dysfunctional Dreams had 3,164 revisions – 1,784 insertions, 1,259 deletions, 0 formatting changes, and 121 comments. If you are unfamiliar with the Track Changes function in Word, you’ll notice some of the text in the document is blue. These blue bits are changes the editor has made… Sometimes it’s the insertion of a comma or deletion of a comma and sometimes it’s entire sentences they have kindly reworded. And you can see the first comment hanging beyond the story text on the right as well as who made the comment. In this first comment she wants me to reword a large section, which I did. Once the first round of edits is finished and I’ve addressed all the comments and accepted or rejected changes, it goes to the second editor. There is a difference between these editors. The first round is more about the story; does it flow, does it make sense, did I lose my train of thought and forget what the hell I was talking about, did I drop a plot line, did I add a plot line that I didn’t resolve, did I include a beginning, middle, and end (for me a book having an ending is kind of a toss up, sometimes I do forget them). It is her job to make sure the book makes sense, she catches some errors, but it isn’t the primary function. The second editor is the main grammar and spelling error catcher. The graphic below shows the second round of edits. Total there are 3,939 revisions by the second editor. 2,117 insertions, 1,803 deletions, 2 moves, 3 formatting changes, and 14 comments. You’ll also notice that the editor’s changes have changed color. Because Word used Blue for the first round of edits, it decided to make the second editor’s comments red. At this point, my own edits (because I always have some) were showing up in purple, but there are none on this page. On the toolbar at the top, you will see two buttons; Accept Reject. I review every change an editor has made and either accept or reject the change using these two buttons. On average, I spend 4 days going through the first round of edits and 2 days on the second round of edits. Since there is less rewriting with the second round of edits it takes less time. I do this 20 times for each book; first round of edits, second round of edits, and with every beta reader. And strangely, sometimes the first editor will have me remove stuff the second editor wants put back in.

Second round of edits.

Now, you’ll have a better understanding of what I mean when I say I need to go through edits. These are the screens I am looking at and what I am doing. I look at each of those blue and red text spots to ensure the editor understood what I meant and sometimes my own changes are because an editor made a change based on their understanding of the text which turned out to be different than my own. Between both editors, there were a total of 7,103 changes made to Dysfunctional Dreams and as I said one included the addition of an entire chapter. Furthermore, the word count changes with each edit is noticeable, my books always get longer after editing. Completed before edits; Dysfunctional Dreams was 85,980, however, when it published it was 88,095 words total.

D&R Character Sketches Supporting Characters Part 1

It’s time to get to the real supporting cast of D&R Myrna, Donnelly, Eric, Nyleena, and Trevor. I considered doing the Clachan Clan as a single post, but Trevor is every bit as important and a family member as any of those that share blood with Aislinn Cain. I included Donnelly and Eric in this group because they haunt Aislinn and have more impact than the living sister-in-law Elle or the niece Cassie and nephew Kyle.

One thing you’ll notice is that I don’t remember Trevor’s last name. I know it was given in Anonymous, but I couldn’t find it. I’ve shared my series bibles with Krissy Smith who has a side business building book and series bibles. Eventually, she’ll fill it in for me… until then I know he has a different last name than Lucas, but I don’t remember what it was exactly (and his family even has a federal building named after them).

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