Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Behind-the-Scenes: Editing Process

When a typical novel is around 70,000 words, it can be intimidating to start the editing portion of writing. I edit my novels at least five times before publishing. I change things every time.

The first few read throughs are to decide which scenes to keep, which scenes to delete, and which scenes to change. This takes a while, and sometimes involves completely rearranging the manuscript.

When it's to the point where it's chronological from beginning to end and contains nothing (overtly) unnecessary, I read it to check continuity. If a character is short and blonde in chapter two, she'd better be short and blonde in chapter twelve--or at least have some explanation for the change (hair dyed purple on a dare; standing on stilts).

The final step is basic proofreading. Of course during the other read throughs I've changed any typos I've noticed, but now that is my only focus.

This is me during the proofreading phase.

At this point, I also ask for at least one outside pair of eyes (my Grandma is my 'official' proofreader). I've seen the words so many times, I sometimes skim past the mistakes.

After that, it's formatting. I do a little skimming as I format, but I'm more concerned with how the words are lining up on the page.

When my proof copy comes, I read through one final time. Seeing it in print sometimes helps me find things I missed on the computer, and it's a chance to check the formatting.

They say first drafts aren't perfect. Well, neither are second or third drafts. From talking with fellow authors and reading behind-the-scenes pieces, I'm convinced this is a fairly universal experience--so don't be discouraged.

If you'd like a second pair of eyes or formatting help, visit the Rivershore Books website or email me at

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