I’ve been hunkered down over the last week. With my next novel having been submitted to the publisher at the end of September, I’m now at the beginning of the editing process. The raw manuscript has been laid out into book page format and my publisher has read the work and provided a basic report, checking the work for plot, consistency, clarity and flow, as well as some suggestions to make the work the best it can be. Those suggestions are mine to consider and take on board if I choose. After all, writing and reading is such a personal act. We all bring to a work our own distinct personalities, backgrounds and personal opinions, regardless of whether we’re creating a novel or immersing ourselves in a new world while reading one.
The editing process is both an invaluable and crucial part of writing. As a writer I live with a work 24/7 while I’m creating it and with that closeness sometimes comes an inability to see the most basic of mistakes. The publisher, thankfully,points out those simple issues, or more complex ones!
This is stage one of the editing regime. After I have gone through the manuscript it is then emailed back to the publisher who checks the script and makes it reader ready. It is this version – the advance copy, that is then printed and forwarded to national media outlets. It’s a process that has positives as well as negatives. Early promotion is vital, particularly as many outlets, particularly print and television work on a minimum of a three month lead time prior to publication. However, the manuscript is far from perfect at this point. While the media are (hopefully) reading this first version, the ms then goes to stage two of the editorial process. An editor is assigned to the novel who then basically does what the publisher has already done, but in a far more in-depth, head-scratching manner. This structural edit which looks at everything from story arc to character development follows the same process as stage one. So you know what I’ll be doing for the next couple of months!