05 March 2020

The Evernighties Blog Challenge - Week 10

Editing- love it or hate it?

I actually love the editing phase of a book because I use it as a tool to learn how to write better. Writing is an organic process, and good writers use any tool they can get to better their craft. Editing is an eye opening part of the process, let me tell you.

The first book I ever had published, titled Black Leather Pants, came out eleven years ago. The editors used highlights to point out problems, and one of mine was passive voice. In yellow highlight, every single "was" had been made clear, and there must have been hundreds!

Passive voice isn't great for books. Instead of saying "Henry was going to...", the active voice would say "Henry went...".

I wish I could say that I learned how NOT to write passively on that edit, but the truth was it took many, many more books before it sunk in. Even now my beta reader will catch a couple. The more you write, the more you edit, the better writer you become.

Another hard lesson I learned through the editing process was "independent body parts" movement. And this particular lesson was very hard to learn! This is when the body part moves independently from their fixed position. For example, "His eyes followed her movement". This visual implies his eyes popped out of their socket and literally followed her. Instead, it should be "He followed her movement with his eyes." This pops up big time in sex scenes. When editing Along Came Merrie I had a heck-of-a-time with all the IBP problems!

But I learned. I'm not saying I'm perfect, but I try to send as clean a manuscript as possible to my publisher. Now as I write, I catch myself with things I wouldn't have thought twice about before. I blame all the romance books of the 70s and 80s. I based a lot of my early style off them and how they were written back then. Another indication how writing is an organic process. Now when I go back and re-read books from those eras I catch a lot of stuff that wouldn't pass muster now-a-days. For example, they allowed different POVs in the same block. It's called head-hopping and now you have to separate them out.

If you are thinking about self-publishing (Indie) then I highly recommend hiring an experienced editor. Readers are very savvy and will be quick to point out the very obvious mistakes.

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