The all nighter is finally over and I felt like I was in school studying for a final. Friday night approached and I was determined to return the final book review to my fellow writers. What I really wanted to do was to have a good dinner, rest, and relax after a long week. I let myself unwind to prepare for what I knew was coming.
Then, it was a search for the best house party music to keep my mood and energy up. My house sounded like an end of year super party with a personal DJ. My computer opened and my head went down for hours. The only breaks I took were to stop for a dance break. I stood up and partied to the beat to wake myself back up again. One more water and one more cup of caffeine before my editing hat was back on.
I was in the zone and I felt really good about the progress that was made during the final round. I got into all the dark corners and went into my happy place. I was able to dive deeper, get all the little style details, and find all the granular crumbs. At this point, the editing process was no longer about grammar, spelling, but style choice. You know you’re at the end when you can ask the style questions to make your voice more consistent.
What are things I look for during my editing rounds? I do use spell and grammar check with every round. I also look at punctuation, natural pauses, and sometimes I do have to look up grammar rules online. Checking for capitalizations should also be done. I had to verify, with my authors, the whether or not to capitalize the names of drinks in a sentence. You think the drink blood mary or mimosa would be capitalized, but it’s not referring to a brand name. Having a good editing round means that you’re able to get to the granular.
After the basic rounds of editing are completed, I start to look at style. Is the author’s voice and use of sentences consist? Is there too much repetition? Did we catch all the pauses and the way most readers will speak? Does the book sound like the author? You don’t want to edit out what makes the book different from everyone else. How did the author use punctuation and is it consistent throughout the entire document. Are the chapters in the right order? Did I go through any links and references, and verify them myself? Yes, you need to check that any websites, or links actually work because your readers will check them out.
Finally, we do the process all over again. You better like the writer/s you agree to edit, or your own story because you’re going to read it over and over, and over again. Now, I know who how musicians feel when they have to sing the same song over and over again. There’s a point when you actually get tired of the words. However, that does fade with the excitement of publishing day. Again, I can’t stress enough how you should love your story or the one you’re helping edit because there may come a time when you have to read it out loud, or turn it into an audio book. Being tired of your story is a good thing because it can be a measurement of progress if it hits #1.
I’m off to nap and recover from my weekend editing party. Some of my muscles weren’t used to being up all night and taking dance breaks. I think I’m out of practice after places were closed for the past 2 years. I guess I’ll have to keep having them. So if you’re driving through a Minnesota suburb in the middle of the night and you see disco lights and feel pulsing music, it’s me, editing again.
My posts are Monday through Friday.
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