Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Life of a Book, Stage Two: Developmental Editing

The second stage of the life of my book is the one I enjoy (and scares me) the most--developmental editing. It's the phase where I see the story through someone else's eyes and will know if what was in my head made it onto the page. Before I send off the book, the book has changed some for the original story as I pulled out parts and added in new ones. I do my best to smooth everything out but sometimes what I believe is on the page was still only in my head. It's one of the problems of living with and story so long, it becomes so familiar you can see the words and all the pieces in your head and it makes you certain it's in the book. Or at least for me. 

This is why I consider/label the book to be in draft (aka original story) until after the development edit. I know there will be changes, and sometimes scenes I love must go. One thing I discovered about writing self is that I'd mentally dig in my heels. It was a little heartbreaking to make changes, and I'd pout over all the darlings that must be "killed." It was easier for me to delve into the first stage of edits knowing that everything had the potential to stay or go. 

The first thing I do when I get the notes is let the comments, suggestions, and questions sit in my brain, then I start writing/arguing in a document to hash out what big and little changes need made (this is my favorite part). I love seeing the book grow more than what my brain had originally thought. At times, my muse needs a little nudge and encouragement, and my editor gets me and my muse and knows how to bring out the best in my writing.

Once I've worked at the changes, and email my editor for her opinion about any big changes I'm planning on making, I start incorporating them into the book. The first editing run I focus on any changes to the main and any of the subplots that branch off from the mystery. In Altered, one of those subplot will be taken from the story so in my second editing run, I'm going to give one of the personal/character subplots more screen time to add more depth.

For the third run, I print out the book and read it in one sitting. I usually do this in another location than my office. I find it's helpful to change my environment. In this reading, I'm trying to check the flow and pacing of the book, and ensure all the new scenes work seamlessly with those from the original story.

After that is done, and corrections are made, it's time for another read to catch any grammar mistakes or typos. I'll change the percentage of the view to have less words on the screen and read the book aloud. It helps me locate any typos that slipped by my eyes. Then the next step is sending it back to my editor (most times it's right on my deadline day).

1 comment:

Linda O. Johnston said...

Your process sounds so organized--and effective. How fun!