Psyched for Romance

Sports Romance & Romantic Suspense With a Psychological Twist

Monday, May 2, 2011

Editing is Love

Today I'll share a few tidbits from the editing process of my first novel With Good Behavior. As a newbie author, I had no idea what to expect, but now I can firmly say I LOVE getting my books professionally edited! The process improved my novels so much.

Omnific Publishing has three levels of editing:

1. Developmental Editor Jessica Royer Ocken first went through chapter by chapter, deleting non-essential paragraphs and making the words flow. This detailed edit took the bulk of the time. I'll return to her brilliance later.

2. Managing Editor Cindy Campbell looked over the manuscript as a whole, detecting inconsistencies and shaping it up. She made it purty!

3. Copy Editor CJ Creel polished the manuscript. Apparently I enjoy conjuring up legal aspects of my novels without considering their plausibility but luckily CJ's also an attorney, saving me from making Sophie's arrest totally unrealistic.

All three of these ladies are amazing at what they do. I spent the most time with Jessica, and I'm so grateful we're almost always on the same page. With Good Behavior started off at *coughs* 176,000 words *coughs*...yikes! I asked Jessica to help me cut it down and we managed to lop off 35K words, avoiding a Diana Gabaldon Outlander-length book.

Here's an example of a few sentences we deleted from chapter 14, when Sophie takes drunk Grant home for the night. The deleted sentences are in blue.
***
For a moment both Sophie and Grant considered how much they would enjoy cuddling up to the other, but both dismissed that idea quickly—for so many reasons.
Kirsten had told Sophie that she should be cautious entangling herself with yet another criminal. And Grant was hesitant as well. Not only was he too soused to see straight, much less make a credible pass at a beautiful woman, but trust didn't come easily to him either. His family had beaten the trust out of him.
***
Jessica told me that information in blue was redundant with earlier text, which was difficult for me to see as the author. Those blind spots are exactly why having a good editor is so important.

I agreed with Jessica's edits about 99% of the time, but on one occasion I wanted to keep something she suggested deleting -- the "sexy vegetables" conversation Grant and Sophie had with their boss Roger. Some of you may have noticed my slideshow of sexy veggies on the lower right of this blog and thought "WTF?" I hope this little excerpt might help explain the craziness better, but it probably will remain a head-scratcher until you read the book.

Roger's in the hospital and Jodi the dietitian has visited his room, encouraging him to eat heart-healthy foods.

***

Jodi explained, “Hardening of the arteries is also related to your diet. Do you know which foods should be eaten only sparingly because they aren't heart healthy?”

Roger had a good idea but he was too pissed off by his current predicament to answer.

“Deep dish pizza?” Grant offered, and Roger shot him the stare of death.

“Yes!” Jodi replied. “Cheese, red meat, fried foods, cream sauces...”

“All my favorites,” Roger cried mournfully.

“I’m not saying you can never eat those foods again, Mr. Eaton. You just need to add in more heart-healthy foods, like this vegetable here.” She held up the stalk of broccoli, and Roger eyed it with disdain. “I’d like you to meet my friend here, Ms. Vegetable.” She placed the green plastic blob on the top of the cart and began lining other colorful pieces of plastic vegetables next to it.

“Rog and vegetables don’t get along too well,” Grant explained. “They have a hate-hate relationship.”

“Aw,” Jodi replied, petting the broccoli, “That hurts broccoli’s feelings when you say mean things about her like that.”

Roger gawked at the dietitian, dumbfounded by her insanity, and began to suspect the three people around him were having fun at his expense.

“Yeah, she’s really good to your body, Rog.” Sophie jumped into the fray. “Ms. Vegetable lurves you.”

“Aren’t those vegetables sexy?” Grant cooed, trying to hold in laughter. “Sexy, sexy veggies. You two need to go out on lots of dates together.”

“That’s it you two. Get out!” Roger ordered.

“You want us to leave, sir?” Grant asked innocently.

“He and Ms. Broccoli need some time alone.” Sophie winked, taking hold of Grant’s arm.

***

Ah, Rog. He is a character.

I hope you enjoyed this little foray into editing. Authors, what was your editing experience like? Readers, what questions do you have about editing?

Time for the Meet an Author Monday Blog Hop. Head over to Lisa Sanchez's blog for instructions and join the hop!



17 comments:

Jessica McQuinn said...

I completely agree with you Jen!! Editing was the best and the worst thing that I've ever done!! And I loved my editors (Jessica was also one of my editors along with Bev Nickelson)!

And the best thing is as I work on my new book, I'm completely aware of all of the things that I did wrong in Indivisible and am trying to fix those things BEFORE it gets to editing (Though I know I'll miss a lot!)

Jennifer Lane said...

Jessica, I forgot to mention your role in WGB too--thank you! It is great to learn how to write better from your editors.

Lisa said...

I LOVE editing. It's one of my favorite parts of the entire writing process because I believe it's where all the magic happens.

Oh, and can I just say how much I love Roger and his sexy veggies? He makes my day every time I read his character :)

Nicole MacDonald said...

Have to fess.. I love a good long novel (Outlander is at the top) but if you can cut stuff out and the story is just as good.. then you didn't need it in the first place :) I'm always amazed at the difference between my first draft and final version ;p
Re-edited vsn of The Arrival now up and just .99c for May ONLY

Jennifer Lane said...

Lisa, yes! It's magical. I often think, "Now why didn't I see it that way?" when the editors work their magic.

Nicole, I love the Outlander series but at times I do wonder if every word's necessary in those tomes! I also feel badly asking friends to read my book if it's huge.

Janine said...

Thanks for the examples, Jen. How interesting!

I think I would LOVE being a professional Editor! I’d probably be tempted to change around A LOT – I’d have to find a delicate balance between hacking the text apart (to make it ‘as I would write it’) without interfering with the writer’s distinct style.

I’m glad that the Omnific Editors are helping you (continue to) grow as a writer! :)

Liz Fichera said...

Interesting post! I too have the utmost respect for experienced editors. They're worth their weight in gold.

Ina said...

It must be awesome to have a professional editor going over your novels! I guess it must be a bit like my very good experience of having a beta doing some magic to a few chapters I once wrote in fanfiction-land....;)
But like Nicole I must say that I really love a good, long novel. And even though I often tease you about the lenght of your novels, the length has never bothered me, Jen.
But it's great that you're getting all of this great feedback from the editors, Jen. No doubt it makes you an even better writer! :)

Jennifer Lane said...

Janine, I've been a beta and I had to learn the hard way to keep the author's voice while trying to make helpful suggestions. At first I tried to change way too much. Editing is definitely helping me as a writer. And I'm proud my short story had much fewer edits (comparably) than WGB!

Liz, editors rock!

Jennifer Lane said...

Hi Ina, thanks for stopping by! Aw, I'm glad you had a good experience with your beta. *grins* Good to know you were just teasing me, Ina. :D I like a good long book upon occasion although it's a little tough when it's the first book in the series. I think it might work better to start shorter and get longer as the series progresses.

Angelina Rain said...

Your editors sound great. A good editor is priceless.

Jennifer Lane said...

They really are, Angelina! I hope you've had good experiences with your editors as well. :)

K.M. Weiland said...

Great post. The input of objective, professional editors is vital to any writer hoping to make it in the long run. Particularly right now, when indie books are flooding the market, it's even more important we make sure our work is at its best before surrendering it to readers. Anything less isn't fair to our readers, ourselves, or our fellow authors.

Nicki Elson said...

How very cool to provide this insight into the editing process. To me editing feels like my manuscript's gone to the spa to get the kinks worked out and all freshly scrubbed & polished Looking at it from an editor's standpoint, it's always wonderful to work with an author that understands and appreciates the process, as you obviously do.

Hey, I have two things to thank you for: #1 Thanks for introducing me to Chick Lit + Wine - they let me do a guest post about my recent wine/book signing event. :) and #2 Thanks for playing my 80s TV trivia---I'm revealing the answers, and you got on right (in Monday's post. I'm a bit behind in the blogging world lately. :/ )

Have a fabulous weekend!

Jennifer Lane said...

K.M., after observing the improvements to my novels from the editing process, I have to say I am hesitant to read self-published books that haven't gone through rigorous editing. At the same time, I understand how expensive editing can be if you're hiring someone to do it.

Hi Nicki! I love that metaphor--taking your manuscript to the spa, ha ha. You're the one who gave me the great idea to host a book signing at a wine shop, so thank YOU!

Cilou6 said...

I enjoy so much your writing, that I think I'm a poor help in any editing process : I can't think of anything I'd like you to change!

Though sometimes I notice "repetition" cause it's words I'm not familiar with / had to search in the dictionnary. For exemple this happened when I read Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series with the word "edge" that she uses in all the possible ways English language allows :)

I could tell you what words/expressions you use most if you want..."one day" ;)

Jennifer Lane said...

Cecile, I think we authors are blind to repeated phrases (that's another area where editors really help) so please let me know when you see that. I believe you mentioned I use "avert his/her eyes" a lot, and my editor told me I use "snap his/her gaze up" frequently as well. Those repetitions can get annoying for readers and once I know about them I can be more careful in my word selection.

 


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