What I learnt this week: 15th September 2016

The end of another round of edits 

On Monday I sent the final round of edits for my next book, Second Wish, back to Choc Lit. I won’t see it again now until it comes out on Kindle.

Thank heavens.

Because while I enjoy editing, enjoy watching the manuscript improve at each stage, by the time it comes to the final editing round, I’ve read it about six times within the space of a month and flipping had enough of it! Umm, I hope this doesn’t put you off reading it – remember, I’m only asking you to this once…

Where all the hard work gets done

Where all the hard work gets done

Where I look for inspiration

Where I look for inspiration

So what have I learnt from editing over the last three years (and yes, I’m as gobsmacked as you that I’ve been a published writer for three years now).

  • Editors aren’t always right – but so very nearly always that you can’t afford to ignore any of their suggestions. If they feel it doesn’t work, many readers are going to feel the same, even if you think differently.
  • It’s best to do the first edit when you’ve not seen the book for a while. Like your editor, you too will have fresh eyes, so not feel so determined to grip grimly to old words when new ones could make that section so much better.
  • The first round of edits are the most daunting (how well are the characters formed, are there holes in the plot, a lack of pace?) but don’t be afraid to get stuck in because it’s also where the biggest improvements are made. I use a highlighter pen to note the key themes I need to address when I read the manuscript through my editor’s eyes. Often I colour code for the different characters, so if I’m reading through a chunk from my hero’s point of view I can easily see what changes might be needed because they’re the ones in blue. The heroine’s are in pink. Obviously.
  • The second round is a sense check of the first round edits, plus ironing out a few more minor details, such as how did the Ferrari get into the school hall? (you’ll have to read Second Wish to find out what on earth I’m talking about). I also make a note of words/phrases I think I’ve overused, then search for them to check if I’m right, or if it’s just because I’ve read the manuscript so many times it feels like I’m repeating myself. Common favourites include raising eyebrows, slumping down and tightening throats, though probably not all in the same sentence.
  • The final proof round is for typos, but I also check for the popular Freeman clangers; your vs you’re, its vs it’s, their vs there. My editor will probably pick them up, but I know their there they’re common mistakes of mine.

After that it’s back to the publisher and time to take a breath, reflect on how much better it was than it started.

And press on with writing the next book.

Second Wish is planned to be out in October. Can’t you just smell those mince pies?

Temporary cover...I hope

Temporary cover…I hope