Monday, April 9, 2018

Journey or Path to the #Editing Insane Asylum by Brenda Whiteside

I've shared a couple of Journey of a Novel tales with you. The word journey implies to me a bit of work, but a path of joy and satisfaction at the experience until now. I'm here to tell you, today, that ever so often the journey is more of a treacherous trek.

The Deep Well of Love and Murder, the fifth and final book of my Love and Murder Series, is a hard fought labor of creation. I think I posted about the deep well of funk I wallowed in during the writing of it. When I finally, with great effort, wrote the end, and sent it off to my editor I received back what is now a funny response. "Brenda, are you okay? Don't take this wrong, but after reading the first three chapters, I have to ask if there's anything wrong." Yeah, that bad.

But I was able to plunge in and do a rewrite which resulted in kudos from her. "Now, that's the Brenda I love to read."

Still, there were edits to do. And edits, and edits. For some reason, every time I read this book, I find more. I thought I did my last (and third round). My editor sees it differently. Her email today said since I found so many needed corrections, I'll need to read it again. That sound is me banging my head on the wall.

I'm going to share a few of my last finds with you. Keep in mind, I had already read the book four times, and I still managed to find these. And this wasn't all I found. How is that possible??!

Page 87 line 23
Ah hell, who knows? I’ll wring the son of bitch’s neck when I find out who he is.” 
Left out the word a. 

Ah hell, who knows? I’ll wring the son of a bitch’s neck when I find out who he is.”

Page 205 line 8
Nearly as still as a statue, only his chest moved with a shallow breath, he studied her. 
The word while left out and no need for comma. 
Nearly as still as a statue, only his chest moved with a shallow breath while he studied her.

Page 298 line 13
Another buck of her hips took her breath away from the pain. 
Words in wrong order. 
Another buck of her hips and the pain took her breath away. 

Page 337 line 28
fingers across his chest, and reveled in his thumping heart beating their rhythm on her palms. 
Their should be the. 
fingers across his chest, and reveled in his thumping heart beating the rhythm on her palms.

So...I'll be getting another galley to read. I'm beginning to think this book will never get published. On the other hand, I'm glad I have a patient yet hard-nosed agent behind me.

You have time to check out the first four books in the Love and Murder Series: CLICK HERE


Jannine Gallant said...

I often wonder how no one notices those little problems on the first four readings! At this point, I can barely stand to read my own book. Prior to the Siren Cove series, the same editor read each round, and I swear to God, she'd return it to me within 24 hours for the next one. Now I have a bunch of different editors (content, line, proof) who each actually read the whole book instead of just reading my edits, so I usually get a few weeks in between rounds. That brings the pain level down substantially. GOOD LUCK!

Rolynn Anderson said...

I read over my books so many times, I'd be horrified to keep count. The trouble is, because of all the rereading, I lose my sense of pacing, timing and intrigue. The story seems to take place in one moment. We are so much in need of fresh eyes at this point...and we pray our editor is that person. Worse... I'm a messy author, because I keep doing research and adding details to the dialogue, setting and plot, so the edited portion I return to my editor has been 'enhanced.' She returns the final editing to me (we do two rounds), and I'l still tinker. I pray my two beta readers will get the errors in one last reading. If people only knew what went into the book they're holding...

Leah St. James said...

The most difficult typos/errors to find are the ones we make ourselves. I believe that's because we're half reading from memory and not always seeing what's on the page/screen. (I should tell you about a typo I made while working in the typing pool at the FBI--way back in the day, obviously. I still shudder to think of it.)

Anyway, a trick I learned from our own Alicia Dean is to read the book backwards, as cumbersome as that is, because that way you're looking at individual words, not words in context, and the errors are a bit easier to spot. It's still hard though, and so tiresome.

I also proofread on print, not on a screen, and I "highlight" each line by running a black ruler down the page as I read. It helps a bit to focus the eyes.

That's all I got. It's exhausting, but I know the book will be fabulous when it's done!

Margo Hoornstra said...

Suffice it to say we’ve all been there. Even after the book is OUT, I’ve found those dreaded typos and omitted words. I’m reading a book right now by a very, prolific, very famous, multi published suthor who writes for a MAJOR house, and I’ve found a couple of actual typos and some content omissions. Go figure. It’s so easy to read words that aren’t actually there when we’re on our fifth, sixth, seventh or eighth round. Good luck getting this one out into the world.

Brenda Whiteside said...

Sorry I'm late answering all of you, ladies. My granddaughter popped in for a two day stay unexpectedly, and there's nothing like a five-year-old to monopolize your time. But we had a great two days!

Jannine, I am glad that Stacy and her team totally read my book several times too. The turnaround isn't too quick from them. Some times I wish it was so I can get a release date sooner.

Brenda Whiteside said...

Oh so true, Rolynn. I imagine they think we write, and editor reads and off it goes to publishing.

Brenda Whiteside said...

Leah, surely you mean last chapter first and so on...not line, starting with the last backwards??!

Brenda Whiteside said...

Thanks, Margo. I doubt I've ever read a book without at least one tiny error.

Leah St. James said...

Well...I start at the bottom (last line of the book) and read each individual line, but going up the page. When I get to the top of the last page, I turn to the next-to-last page, bottom line, and read it. It is really (really) cumbersome and tiring. I'm not sure if that's exactly how Ally does it, but that's how I interpreted reading backward.

So if I were proofreading this comment, I'd read like this:

exactly how Ally does it, but that's how I interpreted reading
It is really (really) cumbersome and tiring. I'm not sure if that's

Maybe I'm just nuts!! :-)

Alison Henderson said...

I'm quaking in my boots, waiting to get my manuscript back from Jannine. I can't begin to imagine all the problems she's found. It's probably just as well.

Diane Garner said...

After reading so it many times, our eyes see what SHOULD be there instead of what IS there. You have lots of company in this frustrating process.

Brenda Whiteside said...

Oh my gosh, Leah, that would put me over the edge!

Probably not near as bad as you think, Alison.

Thanks, Diane.

Alicia Dean said...

Ha, I'm late coming to this one as well. And, my name has been mentioned, so I definitely should have weighed in. Leah, I'm glad you found my tip helpful, but I meant, from last 'page' to first, not last line to first. LOL. I'm sorry if I never clarified that! But,if your method works, good for you. :) Ugh, as an author and editor, I am both frustrated and baffled at how I (and my authors) can read an MS over and over and over and STILL miss errors! it's a pain to keep reviewing a galley but it's preferable to releasing with a ton of errors. Good luck, Brenda!

Diane Burton said...

Brenda, you are so lucky to have an editor that can spot your mood/attitude in your writing. She must really know you well. How great that she spotted it rather than a reader whose review would not be pleasant. I can't believe how easy it is to miss typos/wrong word choice/grammar errors. It is too easy to miss them on screen. I need to read the whole story in print. Good luck with these last edits, Brenda.