Editing: Chapter 2 Gets More Complicated.

Sorry for the delay — I’ve been a little distracted – I promise once a week post, minimum. 

So back to it: OK – Gerry, my new editor, was fabulous on Chapter One, which I featured in the previous post.  So I have to report what happened with Chapter Two.

ASSUMPTION: There will be a learning curve between editor and editee – right?

When Gerry sent me edits on Chapter Two, he rightly assumed my blood pressure might zoom. There were ALOT more edits. I should not have been surprised. I went over Chapter One 9 times before I sent it but reviewed Chapter Two only a few times. 

OUTCOME: Gerry’s edits for Chapter Two were good – even though I did not agree with all of them. While he caught some solid technical stuff (in that arena, he rules); there were several, very important disagreements with his proposed edits (remember the word proposed).

Our bumps in the road centered on the way I write

  1. The musicality I work into my phrasing.
  2. The cadence and pattern of a characters speech  
  3. The way I phrased some action scenes

Number One:  Gerry changed a word or two which messed up the rhythm, (IMHO). But when I looked again, I found his word choices were better, more accurate, and the flow still worked. I just had to see it to believe it and for Gerry, he saw it wasn’t necessary to be a journalist stickler in all cases. 

Number Two: This got a little complicated between Gerry and myself and then I invited my sister-in-law to look at the edits and she added a different opinion altogether.

  • My main character is a wise, older woman born in Bohemia (now Czechoslovakia) who immigrated and never lost her patterns of speaking, as many don’t. Phrasing is important to reflect one’s culture. Sometimes it’s as simple as where the adjective get placed in a mother tongue’s sentence. While people make adjustments when they learn a new language, they often hold onto the grammar patterns from their original tongue.  So Gamma puts words in an order that do not follow American English patterns and she drops a THE or an S on a plural – but her message gets across just fine. 
  • My concern was that I occasionally made her speech too smooth so I asked Gerry to keep an eye out for that and rough it up. 
  • Well, Gerry did so but a bit too much — changing Gamma’s cadence so she sounded like an indian from the wild west movies.  Way too stilted and choppy.  Gamma’s not unschooled but has her own style.
  • Then my Sister in Law looked at it and thought Gamma should be much more smooth, even added a few lines explaining how she improved over the 10 years by studying with Celeste.  Her proposed sentences made Gamma sound perfectly normal and that’s when it all came together for me. 
  • Between the two suggestions, I became very clear on how Gamma sounds. She is not an indian and she is not american. So the bump in the road was very clarifying and I don’t doubt my choice any more.

Number Three: Gerry also questioned how I phrased some action sentences.  

  • IE: “Martin’s head lowered and tilted to the left.”  Gerry gave me a note that it was somewhat disconcerting how I wrote it as the body moving itself instead of the character doing the moving. 
  • I responded by saying that in some instances, a character is unaware of their own body movement, but it is observable to the viewer/reader as a “camera obscura,” . It is a subconscious movement and I write it as such to signal the reader’s attention. After reading my explanation, he totally agreed.
  • To be fair: until Gerry ID’d it – I hadn’t consciously declared I was writing in “camera obscura”.  I saw it that way in my head but never had to explain it until his edit suggestion.  So this process is illuminating a lot more than just the text.

So here’s how my days are rolling now:

I prepare chapters for Gerry Edits by reviewing them several times before sending

When Gerry sends me an edited chapter, I review his suggestions, adjust and accept and check the format again.

Then I send it back to Gerry for final review

The final step will be to send a completed chapter to the Book Designer.  Haven’t gotten there yet.  But she is expecting the chapters one by one so that’s a good thing. Much easier than trying to prepare the whole manuscript for one big send.  

In between — I am in conversation with the book jacket designer and the book interior designer to keep tabs on their progress.

That’s it for today – I have to get back to work — paid work, unpaid work, house work, relationship work — you get the idea!

Thanks for checking in! 

  • What is your editing process?
  •  – tips?
  •  – suggestions?
  • – discoveries?

 xo Laura



Filed under EDITING

7 responses to “Editing: Chapter 2 Gets More Complicated.

  1. It’s good to read your blog and feel understood. It’s also good to read your mature interactions before I send my stuff to my touch grammar reader. I must breathe instead of whine, “But I want it that way!”

    It is hard to escape the lyrical sound sometimes. I edited out a description I’ve loved a long time because, frankly, it simply wasn’t needed and was pulling the readers’ attention. It took a reader to make me admit it–lying face in the mud with my arm bent behind my back, screaming UNCLE. 😉

    I’ve just posted a little on my techniques. It’s a broad post but I’ll tackle some of the details regarding my “charting” in another post. This was just an introduction.

    Cheers! And glad you’ve posted! I’ve been looking forward to it.

  2. dee sarchet

    just when you think you’ve got it….surprise! sounds like a fun interlude you’re developing with your new and inspired editor! happy for you. …laughed at the thought of gamma sounding like an indian, and I am glad for your new found conclusions and insights….you go girl!

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