Editing Stage 4: The fatted calf gets slaughtered

With RT and other posts, I’ve gotten a little behind in explaining my outside editing process so today I plan to catch up.

First, I should make mention that in between each of these “stages” I read the book.

Anyway, today I’m talking about sending it off to be edited. I have to admit my relationship with my editor is very unique. I asked her to write up a little something to share with you all and she was gracious to do so:

I began my “career” by accident. I actually started as one of Rose’s beta readers.  When our group began reading her books, she would ask specific questions about the story but also mentioned that we could comment on other discrepancies.  I emailed her to ask for clarification about that because I am one of those people who notice most mistakes–specifically typos & content-related ones–and they drive me crazy. At that time, she had another editor, so she really only wanted story-related input. Well, a couple of books later, she asked me if I would be interested in proofing her next book.  I think she got more than she bargained for.  The document I sent back to her had been “corrected”, but not just for typos.  I had fixed many of those along with changing a fair amount of wording and offering a range of other “helpful” suggestions (or as Rose refers to the process: “I went to town on it”).  Unbeknownst to me, she and her editor had parted ways at about that same time, so I pretty much fell into this job and it’s been a very interesting endeavor.  However, now when I find a character’s eye color has changed mid-book, I have no one to blame but myself!

I have to laugh and tell you all that she and I had a very “interesting” discussion regarding Edwina’s hair color! As for “going to town”, my jaw nearly hit the table when she sent me back the first set of edits she did and all along the edges of EVERY SINGLE PAGE there was a solid bar of blue and purple flags with more lines that a box of spaghetti pointing to the lines in the next–which meant she’d made corrections–moved this, added a comma, deleted a comma, changed a comma to a semi-colon, broke apart a sentence, corrected a typo, added a word, deleted a repeat or unnecessary word. Any little thing that’s done usually creates at least two flags so those side bars fill up FAST.

At first, I did freak a bit when this came to me and wrote her and teasingly accused her of “going to town” on the book. But in a very loving way and most times when I contact her to see if she has time to edit, I ask her if she has time to “go to town” on my next project.
I have been very, very blessed as sometimes I don’t realize that I’ve used the same word four times in one paragraph or that heaven forbid, I’ve used who for whom. I also get a chuckle each time she puts a comment in the margin that reads: According to Mr. Webster, the word X was not introduced until 1825.
When the edits come to me, I usually spend the better part of a day (sometimes two) accepting the changes or fixing “issues” she’s found. This last time, I received them the day before I went to RT and lugged my laptop with me all over town to work on it while waiting for appointments and even had it on my lap during my pedicure!
I do have to give credit where it is due her and the two other ladies who proofread it after she’s done, if not for their help, my books would be a mess as I am the Typo Queen. It took me a while to find a system that works, but I have and I am very grateful for all the hard work others do for me.

2 thoughts on “Editing Stage 4: The fatted calf gets slaughtered”

  1. Two of my beta readers ended up being GREAT editors, so I’m really lucky. I think that sometimes there are very fine lines between beta readers, editors, and proofreaders. When you find people that can do all three, it’s a lucky thing.

    1. She just edits exclusively for now–no more beta reading. But I was very blessed to be able to ask her to be the editor and even more blessed that she agreed!

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