Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Editing? Get Out of the Box

What I'm reading: Ashton's Secret, by Liana Laverentz

First things first – I've blogged about authors supporting each other before, and today I've got two examples.
Without any solicitations on my part, this blog was discovered by Patricia Marie Warren, who has a blog called "Typing One Handed." She's featuring Terry's place as her blog of the week. I hope you'll drop by – this isn't an interview, book promotion, or the like. It's simply a review of what she likes about my blog. Take a moment to check her out … and, of course, leaving a comment would be wonderful.

Second, I was approached to participate in an on-line book launch for author Carolyn Schriber. She's writing an historical novel, something that's way outside my writing comfort zone, and approached authors to contribute articles on the craft of writing, which is well within my zone. She decided she liked it enough to include me in her launch party, so I'll be fielding questions and discussions over there from 1-9 PM, my (mountain) time. I'm in the Interview Room. She's got all sorts of things going on -- games, food, workshops. It should be interesting, and I'd love some company.

I hope you'll visit both sites, and pass the word.

And as long as you're popping around, here's another review for Nowhere To Hide.

As for my "real" life:

Yesterday's email brought the final round of edits for Where Danger Hides. Galleys, which are the 'last chance to find typos', are scheduled for some time in December. Five Star combines galley's with ARCs –Advance Reader Copies—which are bound and printed versions of the actual book, albeit soft cover rather than hard. These are the ones that go to reviewers so of course, even though they've got the disclaimer that they're not the final version on the cover, you still want them to be perfect.

The files I got yesterday were the edited manuscript as a word doc (hooray for easy searching), and the ancillary files, which are the cover copy, including back cover, and front and back flap cover for the dust jacket. These files also include what the publisher is going to put in its catalog, which is what their target audience—libraries—will see. I bow to their expertise in the matter of promotion.

For the manuscript—the first thing I did was print out the file with the comments I'd submitted and went through them all to verify they'd been done. However, there was one grammatical point that had bothered me when I did the first read-through, and I questioned it and asked if the word was right. The sentence in question:

“No.” He grabbed her wrist. “Leave it. I want to see you.” A disquieting tremble underlay his tone. Something flashed in his eyes. Fear?

When I read it the first time, 'underlay' bothered me. That lie/lay/laid/laid stuff. I'm usually right about which form to use, and if I'm not, I check a book my kids used in their gifted program in grade school. It's out of print now, and I'm ever so grateful I kept it.

At any rate, I asked the editor if it should be 'underlaid' and the manuscript came back with that change. Only Word doesn't like 'underlaid' and gives it that red squiggly line. I pulled out the reference book again, and still couldn't decide which word was correct.

And then that voice in my head finally spoke up loud enough to be heard. "Get out of the box!"

Just because you've written something one way doesn't mean you have to keep it. If there's a problem, there's no reason you can't make a more significant change.

So, what I proposed, and what was accepted, was to get rid of the word entirely. Now it reads:

“No.” He grabbed her wrist. “Leave it. I want to see you.” A disquieting tremble crept into his tone. Something flashed in his eyes. Fear?

Same goes for scenes – just because you've envisioned a particular scene—just because you've written it and it's brilliant—doesn't mean it's going to work as written. You're under no obligation to use it, especially if it's going to end up sounding out of place, or you're doing all sorts of revisions all around it so you can keep it. Sometimes it's better to excise the offenders and put something entirely different in their place.

Two more days for this month's blog contest! Click the tab above for details.


Elena said...

Good move in changing to another phrasing. If something sends you to reference books, and bothers your editor, then there are a whole lot of literate folks out there who will stop in their tracks wondering the same thing, instead of moving on and enjoying your fabulous book.

Terry Odell said...

Elena - I totally agree--it's more a matter of thinking to do it.

Mary Ricksen said...

Congratulations, what an honor to be invited! You do have a great blog.

Patricia Stoltey said...

How cool, Terry. I knew you were going to be at Beyond All Price, which is a fun example of different ways authors can promote their new releases. I'll see you there. But first, I'll pop over to Typing One Handed and check it out. Thanks for the link.


Carol Kilgore said...

I posted today on Cassandra Jade's blog about thinking outside the box. How cool!

Terry Odell said...

Mary, thanks so much

Patricia - that's quite the book launch party, isn't it?

Carol - that old synchronicity of cyberspace pops up again.

Rebecca - I'll be looking for you. Make sure you introduce yourself!

Jemi Fraser said...

I get to the point where I've got entire sections memorized word for word - editing gets hard! I like the tips :)

Terry Odell said...

Jemi, I know what you're saying. Glad this was helpful.

Margaret Duarte said...

Hi Terry. I love that you mention that writers should support each other. That's what I'm doing tonight. The family is out, and I'm alone, and I want to spend some time "discovering" other writer's blogs. I'm excited for you that Patricia featured you on her blog. Good for her. And the book launch invite must be so encouraging for you. Finally, on rewrites, I'm finally getting gcomfortable with them. Guess that says something about my growth as a writer. Thanks for sharing.

Terry Odell said...

Margaret - sounds like a wonderful way to spend an evening! Thanks for following the blog.