Editing – The Never Ending Story

Home to our comfy cabin in the woods – well it will be comfy again when we build up some heat in the place. This morning I feel like I’m getting back to reality with a jolt. And that means back to the reason I started this blog – to share my self-publishing journey.

When I left on the marathon trip I thought the editing of Disappearing in Plain Sight was done. I clicked the upload button on my author account page with Friesen Press and like magic my four hundred page Word file went off into cyberspace. My overriding thought at the time was good riddance. Now, like the proverbial bad penny, or hot potato, or whatever tired old analogy one could use – it’s right back in my lap.

To quote the editorial evaluation – The manuscript is at an advanced stage of readiness for publication and needs only minor polishing up in mechanical terms. I recommend a professional proofread before publication to catch a few spelling and punctuation errors that will be distracting to the reader.

OK – I admit – my first thought was that any polishing had to be pretty minor. There couldn’t be that many errors – the manuscript has been gone over so many times. And not just by me, thank goodness. But of course, every time I made one change, I was running the risk of screwing up something else. No doubt there are issues.

Before I write the next bit of this blog, I want to qualify what I am about to say. Friesen Press is a business – I totally get that. Businesses are about making money. There is nothing wrong with wanting to run a successful business that makes money. Heck, I would like to make money someday – though the likelihood of that happening seems fantastical at the moment. There is money to be made in up selling – there’s a good reason you get asked if you want fries with that burger every time you go to a fast food restaurant.

I inquired about the cost of the minor polishing up my editorial evaluation called for – $1925.27. The very next day I received an email telling me that Friesen Press was offering a special 15% off of the type of editing I required. Again – no criticism here – this is about up selling and making money. I get that.

I will stay firm on this issue, though – I’m not putting out any more money than I already have to get the book published. One of my first questions to my author account manager at Friesen Press revolved around a fear I had that once I got into the process I would be pressured to spend more and more money. She assured me there would be no pressure and there hasn’t been!

So – it is back to the world of editing for me and two wonderful people I have enlisted to be my second and third set of eyes.

Here is the plan:

First, I must compare each chapter, line by line, with my editor’s suggestions – yes – again! I realize now that I missed a few things, especially in the earlier chapters. I guess real diligence to change came with practice. Someday I will write an entire blog about my use, or more correctly, my overuse, of the word just. I’m wondering if it relates to a way of thinking and ultimately of being in the world – a means of qualifying speech and thought. Anyway, it’s so natural for me to insert the word just all over the place (especially when writing dialogue) that I barely notice I’ve done it. When I reread, my eyes just skim over the word just like it isn’t even there. (You see what I mean – I had no idea I wrote the word just twice in one sentence – crazy!)

After making sure I’ve really done all the changes needed, I will reread each chapter with an eye for any typos that I have missed previously or recently created. Then I will recheck the formatting to ensure nothing has gone out of whack in that department. The next step will be a printed copy of the chapter that all eyes can poring over word by word. Then back to the computer to clean up any typos or issues we have spotted in the hardcopy. I will check the computer copy one last time and then move onto the next chapter. EEEK – but it must be done. I don’t get out of this editing purgatory until I’ve completed the process.

Bruce took this picture in a small grove of Eucalyptus trees near Pismo Beach in California. There were 5000 monarch butterflies in the grove that day. What was even more enjoyable than watching so many butterflies flit through the trees, was the looks on peoples’ faces as they entered the grove and looked up – sheer wonder followed by huge grins. Butterflies are free and right now I am not – but I’ll be flitting among the upper branches soon, too – only forty chapters to go!