First edits for Tipping the Balance
Last Sunday I received the first edits for Tipping the Balance. I don’t want to say I’d forgotten about it, because let’s be real. It’s my second novel and I’m shallow that way. But the email I received when it entered the editorial queue said something about 8-12 weeks, which would’ve put it during my in-laws’ upcoming visit.
I’ve been working on it ever since, essentially dropping both A2HP (My WIP), but also a short story I’m working on in response to a challenge posted on Z. A. Maxfield’s Cyber Cafe a few week backs to make mud sexy. Both are on hold for now, since the edits are due this coming Monday, July 25.
Mostly I’ve let the editor have his/her way. I figure that since Dreamspinner Press bought it, I need to pick my battles carefully. That said, parts of DSP’s house style irritate me no end, but with each manuscript I seem to pick some minor and admittedly ridiculous point about which to take a stand. I should probably grow up a little.
All of this said, I’m trying something different this go around. I forget where I first encountered this idea–DSP’s author’s group? Anyway, I read somewhere that a high effective way to edit a manuscript is to read it backwards. So I started with the last sentence, read it normally, and then moved on to the second-to-last sentence, read it, etc. I’m amazed and appalled at how many typos, dropped words, missed words, and near-miss words (forbidden instead of forbidding, for example), and repeated words and expressions I’ve found. I’m only about 50 pages into it, too. The thing is, I edited the manuscript before sending it to my betas as well as submitting, my two betas edited, and at least one person at DSP has been over it.
This works precisely because it interrupts a key component of a novel’s structure, and that’s the flow of the plot. As a writer, I want people to be caught up in the characters and situations I’ve depicted, and to that end, each sentence should flow into the next. The problem with that as I edit my work is that my brain supplies whatever’s missing or wrong to create a coherent picture. By reading each sentence in isolation, I subvert this and can see the words for what they are.
Unfortunately, it’s very time consuming. I won’t be able to finish before I have to send the edits back. Fortunately, there’ll be another round of edits before I get the galley, or at least there’s supposed to be. I’ll make note of how far I got and start up from there. I’m editing this way from now on, only I’ll do it before I submit, or maybe even before I send it to my betas.
Still no word on when exactly it’ll be published or any proofs for the cover art. I find myself far more patient than I was last time. I know what to expect now. That’s my MO. Early in grad school I’m sure I came across as a needy insecure pest to my professors, but by the time I was writing my dissertation, my advisor actually emailed me to see if I was still alive since she hadn’t heard from me in so long. I was fine, I just didn’t need anything from her and didn’t see the point in bothering her. So it is with writing novels.
So check back from time to time. Who knows, there might be an update.