Sunday, December 23, 2007

Count Down to Book Release Date

Whew! Without giving much thought to my finished novel since it was accepted for publication by Wings ePress, Inc. I proceeded to write other things, began another novel and basically went on about my business as usual.
This week end I got my edits for Small Town Secrets release in January 2008. I already had the cover - fantastic as it was, posted it on my website been bragging about it all over the web--now I had my baby back with editor's remarks and correction.

The editing process is revealing. You see the story with a whole new eye now that it has been snuggled away in the editors in box for more than six months, perhaps even a year. You see things you never remembered putting in there, you realize things you left out that needed to be included (your editor spotted those and made a note to you about it in the text) at some point you may even be asking yourself -- "Did I write that?" or some variation of that -- maybe even "Wow this is good, I can't believe I wrote that." Those are the best revelations. As I worked my way through the edits, line by line, paragraph by paragraph, I hoped my characters were as alive as I thought they had become to me as I was reintroduced to them. Sometimes a tear came to my eye over one problem or another for my protagonist. I didn't will them, they just came as my heart went out to Chaneeta Morgan in her despair over her only child. How dare I put her through this kind of torture?

The editing process opens your eyes, it opens your heart, and in the process gives you renewed confidence in your writing While there are mistakes to be corrected, while there are flaws in the whole, the basic story is good--it's readable--you can empathize with the characters--you wonder or you are amazed at what you know and what you've learned through the writing process. You also see how you've grown as a writer since you untied your apron strings from that novel and moved on to the next.

I have a supreme desire to thank my editor, Leslie Hodges, as her gentle red pen tweaked and strengthened my story. What remains after twelve hours of reading and making choices to accept or decline her red penciled edits, I chose in nearly every case to acquiesce to her expertise and judgment. That is what a good editor does--she tweaks she doesn't tamper. She leaves the story better for her footprints in the shadows but never pushes herself to the forefront--like an author who doesn't intrude on his/her story a good editor is invisible, never imposing her way of writing, just adjusting the way you get to the point you want to make.

For sure the first edits are a heady and exhausting experience. Would I skip it? Not for the world. I learned from every comment, every correction and every thought provoking decision made. The proof is in the Pudding, and I await the next task on this way to publication with enthusiasm.

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