An Insight Into Editing - Eren

Editing is one of those things that new (and old) writers find frustrating and readers find fascinating. Maybe it's because it lays bare the bones of a story, or because it's often what separates bad writing from good, but the whole thing - the whole process of writing and rewriting and going over things - seems to have developed a mythology of its own.

I'm in the middle (or, towards the end, I hope) of editing Eren. While every book is different, the process has been eye-opening and helped me understand why publishing sometimes seems like a painfully slow industry. Friends, excited by the news of a book deal, continue to ask when publication day is, and hearing that it's still a year away raises understandable questions: Why? Was there a problem?  

Well, no. It's just that all the work has been behind the scenes.

Taken with instagram

The editing process for Eren so far has looked like this:

I write Eren. This was a hazy process that took multiple years of thinking and a couple of years of working on and off. Let's say, for argument, that Eren took a year to write.

I edit Eren. Knowing I wanted to get agent representation, I finished writing the book, left it for a bit, and then edited it again. Distance gives you perspective, after all. The wait and the rewrite took, say, four months.

Potential agent edits Eren. My particular path to publication included a 'revise and resubmit' from Molly (The Bent Agency). In this case, a phone call where she suggested some changes to the book and offered to read it again.

I edit Eren. Following written guidance from Molly, I edited Eren and sent it back. Two months all in all.

Agent and I edit Eren. Molly, now representing Eren, suggests some final edits to prepare the book for submission to publishers. Not very big changes - maybe one more month.

Eren is sent to publishers, and a deal is signed with Constable & Robinson. Hooray!

Now, watch closely, because this is the bit that I'm finding most interesting...

Editor sends editorial letter. In my case, several pages long - detailing certain plot points that might need adjusting, asking questions about the world, and highlighting certain characters who the editor felt could be better portrayed. A big overhaul, designed to make Eren a better story overall. Two months of work, on and off.

Editor sends line edits. Line edits, as opposed to the letter, are more detailed, highlighting specific words, specific scenes, and suggesting alternatives or changes that don't affect the plot as much as the writing. Depending on the size of the manuscript, these can take weeks or months to get done. They involve a lot of close reading and a lot of paying attention, and are probably some of the less glamorous edits (if you can ever imagine editing as glamorous).

What comes next? We'll see, won't we. Further checks, tweaks, and improvements - and all to make Eren as good as it can be, as good a story as readers deserve.

I can't wait for you guys to read it. I think you're going to like it.

No comments:

Post a Comment