Thursday, September 27, 2012

Major Editing: Read As A Reader

I recently received major edits back for my upcoming romance release with Crimson Romance.  Although I have published erotic romance stories before, I have never edited a full length manuscript.  It was an experience.

Give It Time

Usually, my first and best piece of advice for editing is to give your work some time to breathe.  Like a fine wine, you need to let it rest, undisturbed, for a period of time to allow the full flavours to develop.  And to try to ensure that you no longer are 'in love' with every single letter you've written.

Of course, in this instance, I'm assuming that you haven't seen or heard from your manuscript in weeks, even months -- that's the time in takes to hear back from the publisher, to sign the contract, and to wait for the first edits to come to you.

So, step one -- done.

Read As A Reader

My first tip, and the method I used for this edit as well as for unpublished manuscripts, is to read over the entire piece once.

The way I do this is to print out the entire manuscript.  Yes, onto real paper.

Sure, maybe you read faster off of the computer screen and you really hate killing trees, but the point of this part of the process is to experience your book as a reader would.  An old-fashioned, Kindle-free, reader.  Trust me, if you've written your book on computer (which we all do nowadays), having a physical copy in your hand will immediately distance yourself from the writing process, giving you a precious bit of objectivity.  Hint: this will come in very handy during major edits.

Don't Pick Up That Pen!

While you're reading your work, don't make a single mark on those pages.  You are trying to recreate the reading experience, how an eventual purchaser of your book will see it.  And, in another sense, you're trying to see your work through the eyes of the editor.  You've already seen their comments and, chances are, they will be on the pages you have printed as well.

Read the comments.  Keep the tips in mind.  But don't make any changes yet.  Not even correcting the typos.

The point of this exercise is, one, to see your book from different eyes, and also, two, to put into your subconscious what needs to be changed.

Now that you have your editor's feedback, it will be lodged in your brain as you read through your book this time.  You will likely see why they made the comments and suggestions they did.  Or, if you don't quite see their point, you can at least look at your work as objectively as possible and see their argument, as well as formulate your own -- if you need it later.

Now that your work is back at the forefront of your mind, along with the comments from your editor, it is time to go to work.

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