I was supposed to start editing my post-apocalyptic novel about the power grid going down tonight. I've been finished with that book for a few weeks. I've been "spending time" with it lately. Just re-reading from different points in the story. If I see a mistake I'll change it, but really I'm just reading. I told myself that I was going to start the editing process, a process I hate, tonight.
Instead, I drank like three rum and diet cokes, have been blasting the Dave Matthews Band Live in New York City Album, and pretty much played solitaire on the computer for a while trying to prep my mind to edit.
After the third drink I giggled, there will be no editing tonight. It would be useless after that much rum. I'll miss stuff right and left, then jump in the story to my favorite parts, pat myself on the back a few times, and pretty much not get a thing done. So instead I decided to write a post about how much I can't stand it. I'm sure the rum will make this post in some dire need of some editing, but I can do that tomorrow.
Brian Panowich, the author of Bull Mountain and a local Fire Fighter, said in a blog post how the second writing and self-editing is his favorite part of the process. I'd rather run six miles uphill listening to three cats fighting knowing full well when I get to the top I'm going to have get a prostrate exam followed by having to re-take the SAT's than edit my own stuff. I really hate it that much.
When I get done with a manuscript I spend a few weeks just going back over it, re-reading and doing some minor editing. Then before I send it out to friends and family, I print the manuscript out and read every word in order, out loud. I make notes on the paper, and usually cut a good bit. I'm pretty redundant when I write something new, and my alliteration is always horrible. I'll use the same word in three sentences four times. I don't catch that stuff until I read it out loud.
And I try to cut as much as possible. I'm good at that, and don't mind deleting entire paragraphs. Then, once I've made all the corrections, I usually re-print it out and start over. This is where it gets tricky. As a writer, I don't think I'm ever going to be satisfied with a finished piece. I read my own book when I got my copies and was shaking my head multiple times, thinking to myself about changing this word or cutting that sentence. The first editor I ever worked with, my dads friend, told me that this was a good disease to have. He called it the "Writers Disease." So I only print it out twice, read it out loud each time, make corrections, cut as much as I can, and then I stop. Otherwise I'd do that sixteen times.
In the manuscript of "Who Is Olivia Green," I knew I needed someone to edit it, offer advice and look for consistency issues. I didn't have to look far, thankfully, and emailed my cousin, Brandi. She had read my first two manuscripts and offered some quick but very insightful advice. So, I emailed her part one out of the blue and she emailed me back pretty quick asking for the rest of the manuscript. I did, and she emailed me back that evening. She said something to the effect of, "Really enjoyed it. It was more my kind of book than your first two detective novels. I'll sleep on my comments and email you tomorrow."
I was pretty impressed. She read the entire manuscript in about three or four hours. When she emailed me the next day, I was completely blown away. She had found well over ten consistency issues, (in part one chapter 4 you say Jim has 9 operatives, then in chapter 11 you say he has 10) and offered some great advice for my re-write. I went to work quickly, we had some discussions about her editing the book and we were off and running. That was the summer of 2014.
When I got done with the rewrite, I sent it to her and she went to work. And if I'm being honest with myself, any success I have with this book, she is owed a lot more than what we agreed on. When she finished the final edit, I was blown away. She cleaned up so much, which is important, but she added more than she cleaned up. When I read the book I can see her words, I know I didn't write them, and I marvel each time. She knew what to change, what to expand on, what to cut more of, and how to keep the reader moving forward.
She did one hell of a job editing. And I can't thank her enough.
Since I hate editing as much as I hate Islamic Terrorists, I can't do the same for her. And that kind of sucks. She finished a manuscript a few months ago and sent me the unedited version. It was awesome, I had to read it twice because I got sucked into the story and wasn't making notes the first read. I hope she moves forward with it.
But, really I hope I was at least able to offer her some tips, maybe some good advice. She said she hasn't got much feedback from it, and I had to type my comments into a word document so I could keep track of them, but I'm no editor.
I suck at and hate editing.
I just hope I was able to offer Brandi, the editor of Who Is Olivia Green, something positive. Because, when I look back, she was a hell of a lot more than an editor to my manuscript a few years ago.
I don't know about the rest of you jokers, but my glass is in some dire need of some rum. And Dave Matthews is getting ready to sing, "All Along The Watch Tower."
The concert is ending. I'm a little drunk. I hope Brandi knows how much I appreciate her editing ability. I hope I was able to offer her something on her manuscript. Cheers!