The Editing Struggle

July 13, 2014

First let me say that my editor (Jacy Mackin) rocks! Like seriously, she’s awesome. If you need one, look in her direction because she will straighten you out and put those wayward commas back in their place, leaving you with a book that was everything you were trying to make it become.

I’m about to reenter the editing process for Heart of a Rocky and I could use the reminder of the things I struggled with the first time around.

So Much Red Ink

Typically, I take some time between drafts (at least 6 weeks, more if time allows) before I go back with my own red ink and hack it to pieces. This is in no way is my attempt to say I did the right thing foregoing an editor when I self-published. *spanks hand* Bad, bad writer.

I have since learned the error of my ways. No amount of red ink (or little red bubble comments) made by me can take the place of a knowledgeable editor. Trust me (and countless other writers) when I say, hire an editor. You may think you don’t need one. Or that you’ve taken enough time that there is no way that you missed anything too big. Hire an editor and watch yourself get proven wrong.

It took me ten months to write The Lycan Hunter and another year and a half to self-edit it. I took my time because I wanted it to be perfect. After working with Jacy over the course of a month, I had an additional two scenes and a manuscript that was more polished than anything I could have managed on my own.

Time and Money

One of the major complaints that people have when they think about hiring an editor is the cost. Writers are generally poor people. We like the idea of rolling in money, but reality looks more like this:

 

Starving_Artist_hi.24833012_largeEditors are expensive, but they should be. My experience with the cost of Jacy’s skills is a bit different, because I have been honored to have her on my team with Booktrope Editions. That being said, editors are responsible for helping an author turn their work, which may fall somewhere between the following extremes:  “oh my god what is this?!” to “Oh this is going to be a breeze,” into a final work that is reflective of the story that the author wanted to tell in the first place. That magic touch should be rewarded, because helping an author turn their baby into someone capable of earning income takes time and energy.

Also, you could spend the rest of your life editing your book and still not get it to be where you want it to be simply because you’re too close to it. Besides, the time that you spend editing that one book is time that book is not earning money. And let’s be honest, you want to get paid for your work, which means the book needs to get done and out into the world. Writing may not make you rich, but you can’t earn anything if a book never leaves your hard drive.

Commence the Whining

Before I received my book from my editor, I was excited. I couldn’t wait to edit. Red ink? Bring it on, I said. Then I got my book back and well, so much red ink. 🙂

I have to admit that I had a rough time with the first round of editing. You see, I tried to accommodate all the tips Jacy gave me, because the editor is always right. There were times throughout the entire process where I wasn’t comfortable changing certain things to the point I had to step away. Really, I was flip a keyboard frustrated.

That isn’t a mark against Jacy. Truthfully, she helped me see things that I didn’t even realize were an issue. Apparently, I have a fondness for weak introductory clauses and the word look. I’ll just put that into the evidence box for reasons that self-editing doesn’t work for me. I’m far kinder to myself than I have any right to be.

While trying to make the necessary changes which ultimately made the book a hell of a lot stronger, I struggled to make other changes that were more of a judgment call that necessary. It took me almost three weeks to make the changes in my book. It shouldn’t have taken me more than a week, but as I said, I was frustrated.

Once I finished the edit, I realized that it wasn’t nearly as bad as I was whining about. Trust me, I whined. My husband and other writer friends bore witness to my constant complaining and questions about editing that were not nearly as complicated as I made them out to be.

In the end, The Lycan Hunter was as it should have been in the beginning and for that I am glad.

Thick skin, Coffee and Cookies

Now that it is time to start editing Heart of a Rocky: a Gardinian World Novel, book 2, I have to prep myself to have thick skin; not that Jacy is cruel, it’s just that I’m not always as brilliant as I’d like to believe. Also, I need coffee and cookies to ease the burn of late nights and the sting of red slashes to my baby. Here’s to editing. Wish me luck and if you have some cookies, feel free to send them my way. I’m partial to chocolate, but hold the nuts.

I don't know what he's talking about. I'm hilarious.

I don’t know what he’s talking about. I’m hilarious.