I mentioned recently that I’ll be starting the professional editing process on the three Infernal Hunt books that have been sent over to my editor. I thought you guys would be interested to see what that actually looks like.
We’ll start right at the beginning, what I did before I sent them over to him.
I’ve worked with my editor for a few years, we know each other really well, so your experiences may vary. Once I’d finished the first draft I let it sit for about a week, then I read over it and fixed any glaring issues – gaping plot holes, character name switches, iffy pacing, the big things. I fixed any typos that I spotted too, but I’m hopeless at that side of things.
Once I’d gone over and done that so the draft was as structurally sound as I could manage I send them over to him. I’m pretty sure I know where he’ll recommend changes but I wanted a second opinion before I potentially wasted both my and my editor’s time. There are areas where he always tells me I need to tweak and expand stuff. I expect to add in around about 10,000 words during the developmental editing process, that’s just how I write.
I always write my action scenes too short in the first draft. Every time I’ll get notes to the effect of “expand this.” The reason I tend to let them sit is because I like the notes my editor offers, he usually has great insight into the exact ways I can expand them, touches on the character’s fighting style.
So, back on track. The first thing my dear, darling, over-worked editor does is a quick copy edit. This isn’t normal. This is because my brain’s broken and has a hole in it so my grammar’s such an abomination he has to do a copy edit first so his brain doesn’t break. Ahem. From there he does a developmental edit.
That means he does what I did, but in far more depth. He looks at the big stuff, the character development and voices, pacing, consistency, world-building, factual accuracy, plot holes and flow, all of those big story bits. I’ve found some comments from previous books to share with you, unfortunately I accept pretty much all comments as I go along so 99% are gone forever. Here are some to give you a taste though (I’m on really good terms with my editor, so the tone’s very laid back).
Once he’s been through and made those developmental comments (he does comments on individual bits, chapter write-ups, then a whole book write-up) he sends it back to me. I make a nice stiff drink and read through the comments, make another stiff drink and dive in.
I go from comment to comment and fix each issue as it comes up, rather than reading the whole book again. Once I’ve done my first developmental run through I very rarely read the entire book again, it feels weird, so I don’t. Ahem. As I was saying. I fix everything as it’s noted in the varying comments. Once I’ve done that I send it back to my editor. It’s worth noting that we save a fresh document for each run through. i.e. Infernal Ties Draft One for the very first untouched first draft, then IT Draft Two for the one I went over, Draft Three for the one he made notes on and so forth. This means that if we lose a draft we don’t lose everything, I end up with some seven or so copies of these manuscripts in the end.
As I was saying! I go through his comments then send it back to him. He goes back through it again, from scratch. I accept all comments and changes so its a fresh manuscript, no comments, nothing. That’s where he gets super nit-picky and we polish up the fine details. I go back over the comments that come from that round.
I pretty much step back from here because of my aphasia, I will never have a good enough grasp on grammar and all to really make an insightful comment, or whatever. I have complete faith in my editor.
Editor now goes into the copy editing. He goes over the now developmentally edited manuscript with a fine-toothed comb and fixes up the grammar, syntax, all that good stuff. He sends it back to me. I go through and make absolutely sure that my authorial voice, and my charaters’ voices have been maintained and come across as I want them to. That’s so important, and it takes a talented editor to maintain all of that with the grammatical abomination I hand my poor editor.
I’m always very happy with editor’s work and haven’t had a problem with what he’s done so far. Still we go over everything and he explains to me what he’s done, the punctuation he uses for each character and how it alters their voice and so on and so forth. Once he’s 100% sure that I’m happy, he goes ahead and does two more full copy editing runs. He then does another two proofreading runs.
I then throw it in Scrivener and format it for ebook. He does another proofreading check. Et voila. An ebook is born.
It’s worth noting that most people don’t need as many copyediting and proofreading runs as I do, like I said, grammatical abomination. It’s recommended that most people have two developmental editing passes, and two copyediting passes.
Hopefully that’s given you some insight into what it’s like working with a professional editor and the process my books go through. 🙂
If you’re in the market for a talented copy and developmental editor let me know and I’ll pass you the details of mine. Although he’s all mine until mid-July 😉