Thursday, December 27, 2007

More on editing (and some South African eating)

What I'm reading: McKettrick's Heart, by Linda Lael Miller

What I'm working on: updating my website, a workshop on e-publishing, edits for Hidden Fire

I've added another page of photos to my website: our South African eating experiences. Check the link on my home page. It's also time to get down and dirty with the e-publishing presentation I'm working on. If anyone wants to help with a quick survey, shoot me an email. (Link to the right). Opinions and experiences from readers and authors needed.

And I've promised myself I'll have the "final submission" version of Hidden Fire to my Cerridwen editor by January 5th. As life insists, that's also a work deadline. Plus, my agent wants me to go through Unexpected Danger before she reads the full manuscript, using her guidelines. She's actually more of an editor than my editors have been.

I've worked with at least four editors (not counting my critique groups) on my publications, and each new one is like a first date. Although the Chicago Manual of Style provides a unifying thread, one holds fast, another uses it as a guide. Some editors make their presence felt on almost every page. Others are hands-off, correcting only typos and house style issues. Some are specific about what to change, others say, "there's something 'off' in this scene."

Unlike critique partners, comments by agents or editors carry that English Teacher Terror. That what they say is right and what you have is wrong. So far, I've been fortunate in that all my editors accept a two-way dialog and will listen to my justifications for word choices, character behavior, scenes. That doesn't mean they agree, but at least they listen.

Right now, I have two manuscripts to polish, but since they're for two distinctly different editors, I can't hop back and forth. Much as I want to get Unexpected Danger ready for submission, I have to keep my focus on Hidden Fire. I know some authors can work on more than one book at a time. I can't write that way. It turns out, I can't even edit that way. Or start a new book.

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