What I Learned From My Editor

You knew it was coming. The obligatory “my work has been edited, my editor was invaluable, this is what I learned, you wish you had an editor like mine” post.

Blood in the Past was sent to Red Adept Publishing for a deluxe line edit a couple of weeks ago. Oooh, deluxe! I know, right? That means my lovely editor and I go back and forth like a see-saw until the manuscript is perfect. Then we send it off to a proofreader for good measure.

It didn’t take Cassie (hope she doesn’t mind me using her real name) very long to edit BITP, as it’s a novella, not a full-length novel. I received all of her corrections in Word’s Track Changes in about a week. And with that handy-dandy deluxe package comes a separate document with some general points that the editor noticed about your writing style. So, without further delay, here’s what a learned from the fabulous Cassie:

  • I do things for effect, but I do them too frequently so that the effect is for naught. Such as one-line paragraphs and sentence fragments.
  • I use present tense words like now, these, this, etc even though I write in past tense.
  • I don’t use enough contractions. (I blame my mother for that one. She wasn’t a fan of contractions. She even tried to use Eddie Murphy’s character in Coming to America to prove that the English language is better without them. What can I say? It stuck.)
  • I often segue into sentences like I’m writing a sixth grade paper. Yet, Instead, But, etc.
  • I use began to and started to like it’s my job. Cassie pointed out that it is not, in fact, my job.
  • My timeline was a little jacked up because I underestimated the time it would take to complete an arson investigation. None of my betas caught that, so that was a HUGE gaffe that I’m glad she brought to my attention.
  • And finally (this one cut me deep), I have the tendency to “wax poetic.” ~Le sigh~ Cassie did go on to say that my “technical writing is beautiful,” but I need to remember that my characters aren’t all kooky literary professors whose inner dialogue would be so verbose. Oopsie.

All in all, my time with Cassie will be remembered fondly. We cut things that shouldn’t be there. We added things that should. We compromised on a few points. She let me have my way on a few other points. And we bonded over the movie Bringin’ Down the House.

Wait, what?

Here’s what happened. She made a comment that one of my characters had taken kick-boxing classes and thus would be a worthy adversary for another character. I pointed out that it wasn’t MMA-quality training. It was like in Bringin’ Down the House, when Queen Latifah gets into that fight with the Country Club Chick, who says she takes Tai-bo. Country Club Chick then goes on to get her ass beat. Turns out, Cassie LOVES that movie (capital letters were her own, not mine.) So, for my character, the kick-boxing classes, were just for cardio. Sure, you learn a few general movements, but not enough to ward off a larger woman wielding a chef’s knife. Oh dear, I’ve said too much…

Blood in the Past. Available June 19th on Amazon. Ebook Only for this one. Sorry.

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13 thoughts on “What I Learned From My Editor

  1. I definitely know I have a tendency to wax poetic. I think I can get away with it more in my 19th century novel, but I’m currently working on a book where the character is in the 21st century, and I catch myself thinking of how I can poetically convey certain thoughts and have to stop myself.

    • Haha. I guess I can look forward to having to “catch myself” in the future. It’s weird because I was never really in to poetry and I definitely don’t speak poetically. Actually, I speak more like a sailor or trucker, but that’s a whole other post, I guess.

  2. I’m supposed to be editing an article about the logistics sector, but reading your blog is so much more entertaining. What a great post. Thanks for sharing Cassie’s feedback. It’s amazing what an outsider can spot. I teach yoga and at a peer-reviewed session it was pointed out that I keep saying ‘just’ (just do this, now just do that) and I’ve noticed I do it when I write. Just can’t help myself!

  3. I was reading this list thinking that Cassie must be reading my manuscript as well…I am definitely guilty of a few of these, so this was a great reminder. Cassie sounds awesome!

  4. Pingback: Jerks & Irks XLII: The Unglamorous Side of Writing | journeyofjordannaeast

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