Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Copy-Edit: "Covenant"

Not much has happened over the past few weeks, hence the lack of posts since the middle of December. The holiday period intervened, obviously, but also I've been working away on the first draft of my second novel, "Elixir".

However, yesterday the copy-edited version of Covenant arrived. It's quite exciting to see how another professional editor views the work. The document is peppered with seemingly small but on reflection very astute observations, where the editor has recognised that I've used a particular word twice in two pages, or that a character has accquired a small piece of information twenty pages before they could possibly have. None of the adjustments required are at all labour intensive, usually requiring either deletion or a simple tweak to make everything fit together seamlessly.

It's been an understanding of mine that many authors ( at least in the past ) have resisted with some effort the work of editorial teams and their advice. Many, apparently, have not achieved new contracts, or have seen 'uneven' sales due to their reluctance to alter details in their work. I fail to understand why they do not see the advantages of following editorial advice: my novel was, if I blow my own trumpet, pretty good as it was, and both my editor and agent stated so. But it's so much better now for all of the tiny tweaks, the polishing of each and every page, and I've even identified one or two little bad 'habits' of mine as a writer that I can watch out for in future work, thus making the next editorial easier for all.

My advice; take all editorial notes, and act on them. Throw yourself into it and put aside any pretence that you're already an 'experienced' author. Everyone's work can be improved, and the better it gets, the more an audience will enjoy it. And that means they'll buy your next great best-seller!

3 comments:

Matt Hilton said...

Very true.

In one MS of mine, there was so much sniffing going on that you'd think swine flu had broken out. I couldn't see it (not being objective enough) until my eagle-eyed editor pointed it out.

Dean Crawford said...

Know what you mean Matt - my main issue was an awful lot of 'staggering' apparently. Clearly, in my character's world there had been far too much drinking going on...

Battycuss said...

Hi Dean,

My opinion won't count for much I know, but I have to agree with Matt. We really can get too uptight and downright precious about our stories and our characters.

However, the professionals know what they are doing; one reason I would never employ a plumber to landscape my garden, so to speak.

I have been trying for long enough now, but I am almost ready to test the market. How long it will take I don't know, but one thing is for sure. If I get that far, and an Editor says change this, that or 'tother, then I will be there with my boots blacked and my trousers pressed!
Best of luck

John