Hello everyone and welcome to How To
This post is later than usual due to my book Ethereal Lives being released last Wednesday. I’m afraid everything has been pushed to the back burner in the excitement, but I’m back now with a How To on editing. How to edit your editor’s edits.
So, you send your book to your editor and after a great deal of waiting and thumb twiddling, it is finally returned to you, usually, looking something like this:
And, most often accompanied by this:
Here you have a manuscript with endless comments and corrections and a letter from your editor, usually broken down into segments, listing everything that is wrong with your work. It can be very daunting and leave you wanting to cry as you try to figure out how to fix everything. I know when I first got confronted with all this it made my head spin, so here is my take on how to deal with it all.
I’m not saying this is how it must be done. Just that this is what worked for me and I hope it helps someone in future.
I’m going to break it down into easy steps so that it doesn’t seem quite as frightening and explain what I did.
Step 1 – Read The Comments And Letter
Read all the comments and the letter. This may seem a bit too obvious, but with so many things to fix it can be tempting to just jump right in and start editing. However, I highly suggest you read all the comments first to get a general idea of just what needs sorting.
Step 2 – Save It
Before you do any edits, save another copy of the manuscript and letter so you always have the originals to refer to.
Step 3 – Out With The Good
Go through the comments on the manuscript and remove all the nice ones. If your editor is like mine, mixed in with the things to fix will be a number of comments saying what you have done right. This is great. It’s always good to know what you have done correct but, when it comes to editing, these don’t really need to be there. Once you have read them and taken in what they say, delete the good comments. The manuscript probably won’t look quite as bad with them gone.
Step 4 – Fix The Simple
Go through the rest of the comments and fix the easy things. There are bound to be simple things like spelling mistakes, or perhaps a sentence that needs rephrasing. Possibly, you accidentally changed the colour of someone’s eyes. All these things are very easy to fix. Dealing with these could drastically reduce the number of comments on the manuscript. Simply delete the comments as you sort them.
Step 5 – Back To The Letter
Now it’s time to look back at the letter, which was sent with your manuscript. Just like before, go through and deal with the easy things. My letter was sent in PDF form but whatever form it’s in, I suggest, deal with it one point at a time and cross each section out when you have sorted it, so your letter looks something like this:
Step 6 – Now The Hard Bit
With the easy things sorted, it’s highly likely you will find that there are not too many more things to fix. For the remainder of the things in the letter and manuscripts, I suggest, make a list of them and work through it one at a time. Some of them of them might require rewriting of large sections, while others might need you to read through the manuscript as you do them. I personally do the large section rewrites first then I read through and correct what’s left.
Step 7 – Check And Double Check
Read through your manuscript from start to finish and make sure you haven’t changed something and messed it up in a big way, then get someone else to read it. All being well the work will be vastly improved and you will have finished editing your editor’s edits!