Some of you will understand why I use the word “dreaded” in connection with edits, some of you will be shaking your heads and telling me to stop moaning – I’m published, I should be jumping for joy, and all that – whereas others will be wondering what I’m talking about.
My publisher Choc Lit work with several different editorial stages: substantive edits, line edits, copy edits, and proofing. At the moment I’m doing substantive edits on my next novel “The Elephant Girl”, which in this particular case consists of a 14 page single-spaced report detailing elements such as plot points, characters, pace, etc. In addition there is a chapter by chapter breakdown of issues which need to be addressed, all perfectly valid points raised by my editor.
So why my long face? Well, where do I start? Where does anyone start? It’s overwhelming.
After alternating between wanting to toss the manuscript in the fire and never look at it again, and tackling the edits right here, right now, in my pyjamas, despite the old saying that more haste makes for less speed, I come to the conclusion that I have to be organised about it. And for me the best way to achieve that is to use highlighters (did I tell you I love highlighters?).
I mark my editor’s questions in yellow, her suggestions of what needs to be deleted in orange, her suggested insertions in green, and my own ideas of how to solve the various problems in red pen in the margin. Afterwards, what at first seemed like a monumental task, has now been reduced to “bite-sized chunks”, and perhaps isn’t going to be quite as difficult as I’d thought. At least I hope so…
How do you approach your edits?