Guess what? I’ve been a busy boy!
Not only is work plenty on my day job, I also…. Drum roll… sound the horns!…
had my soon-to-be-debut-novel edited!
Those of you who follow this humble blog for a while, especially if you write, might appreciate the process. It started a really long time ago (as I have a really full-time job) with coming up with the concept, continued with plotting (I’m a plotter), and then writing the novel. Once that was accomplished, I had to go through multiple cycles of re-write, as no first draft is a finished product.
Well, even once you have the final draft, it is far from finished. It isn’t called a “draft” for no reason.
As you’re well aware, English is my second language. Even if it was my mother tongue I’d have to get someone professional to read my text and do the necessary editing. Nobody’s perfect. Needless to say (what a needless saying, huh?), having written the novel in English, the importance of editing was tenfold.
When I write these blog posts, I do my best (for the most part). I run the spellcheck, and except where I intentionally leave an error (for context mostly), I try to “edit” them. But I don’t make too big of a deal of polishing these, because “we’re just talking here”.
Before unleashing the fruit of my hard labor on the world, I do want to make the effort. To make it the best novel I can produce at any given time.
I invested time (nights, weekends, smoke breaks and more) in writing and plotting, I invested time (very well spent I might add) in learning. I write regularly (in so many different outlets) and I read. So if I was willing to do that, there was simply no way I’d just publish a good story that most people couldn’t read…
Luckily, I hit the jackpot on the first go-around, when it comes to editing. I took the advice of my good friend and writing coach, Christina Ranallo, and contacted Loree Grigoletto in order to edit my book.
Now, I’m no Stephen King by any stretch, and this is the first novel I have edited, but I do know what I expect from my editor, namely:
Read my story – don’t run it through the machine and produce a report.
Understand that my characters – could speak English as a second language. They may not know the Chicago manual of style by heart.
Understand the same about me.
Loree read my book once, to get a feel. She went over it and edited it, and then she read it again to make sure she got it all. I am so grateful for that, as it made this process so much easier than I would think.
I received my edited text back the Saturday before last and even as I read the comments on the first couple of pages, it was apparent that Loree read the story just as she’d told me. It was also apparent that she understood my character’s background, and even state of mind at the different points of the story.
Most of all though, I think, it was apparent that she understood who I am.
One of the most important parts of this edit was the attention to the flow, the idiomatic aspect of writing and those little awkward sentences I use every so often.
I started doing my bit on Sunday night and as I clicked away, I have to say to my surprise, I felt joy. For every mistake I fixed, every sentence I changed, I could see the immediate effect. Re-reading the modified text was a “wow moment”. Dang, she made this scene better. By simply helping me make it flow better, make more sense.
Like reading a good book, I couldn’t put the novel away. I gave myself a week of evenings at the computer, and as I live and breathe, I finished it in a week.
I fixed the last spelling mistake and sighed, “What a good story you wrote”… Yes, good story, but now it’s a good story that people can read without stopping at the end of every second sentence, asking, “What did he mean by that?”
Bottom line folks, if you write, and I know there are many great stories out there, never skip this step. Don’t give yourself a pass, don’t save. This is too important an aspect to neglect.
And once you have your final draft ready for editing, know that there is a great editor out there who did wonders with my second-language-English. I’m going to spill the beans here, her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and I honestly sign my name on this warm recommendation!
Speaking from experience,