Last week I received the edits and revisions for my second novel, Rescuing Lacey, due out later this month. Woohoo! Like with my first manuscript for The Promise of Change, I quickly scrolled through the redlined document to get a flavor for what I had ahead of me. There were more revisions with Rescuing Lacey than with my previous one, so I knew I had to devise a plan of attack.
There were the expected garden-variety grammar, punctuation, and typos, as well as some word usage corrections. For some reason I tend to use British forms of words as opposed to American — towards (British) versus toward (American), backwards (British) versus backward (American), and alright (British) versus all right (American). I’m clearly spending too much time in England.
Other minor revisions included italicizing foreign words and internal thoughts and overuse of words like walking, looking, turning, and pulling.
Major revisions included suggesting I move sections of narrative to later scenes and convert it to dialogue between the hero and the heroine and revising the stray “authorial POV” to a character’s POV. I also tend to head hop between my hero and heroine, a la Nora Roberts, but clearly she manages this more deftly than I do. ( :
As a lawyer, editing documents is part and parcel of the work I do. Let’s just say Word’s Track Changes feature and I go way back. And as I would with any contract I review, I used the following strategy.
Step 1 – I worked through the manuscript from beginning to end accepting the punctuation, grammar, typo corrections, and word usage issues (because, let’s face it, my editor was right), as well as making any formatting corrections. This way I de-cluttered the document making it easier to read when I moved on to the major revisions.
Step 2 – Since I had large sections of narrative to move and I needed to find the perfect place in the story to insert them, I printed the manuscript. I then cut the sections of narrative to be moved and pasted them into a separate document, printing that as well. Let’s call that my Revisions Document. Next, and this is important, I grabbed a large glass of iced tea. Because we all know revising is thirsty work. Then I settled into a comfy chair with my redlined manuscript, my Revisions Document, my iced tea, and my magic red editing pen. It’s not really magic, but I had you going there for a second. Admit it.
I began re-reading the manuscript and marking my POV revisions. When I came to a section in the manuscript that I needed to move, I made a note on the Revisions Document about what later scene it might fit in. I followed this pattern, making my POV corrections, until I came to the scene that would serve as the new home for the narrative-turned-dialogue and made a note.
Step 3 – After finishing the manuscript review, I pulled up a chair at the computer, taking another glass of iced tea with me of course, and opened both the redlined, marked-up manuscript and the Revisions Document. I made my POV corrections, tracking the changes. When I came to a scene that would best welcome the deleted sections, I copied the section from my Revisions Document and pasted it into the scene, then revised it accordingly (i.e. changing it to dialogue, changing third person pronouns to first person, etc.). On the Revisions Document, I highlighted the text, thus ensuring that when I was finished I hadn’t forgotten any sections.
Step 4 – After all the major revisions were completed, I used Word’s Find feature and searched for overused words and replaced many of them with appropriate alternatives using Word’s Thesaurus feature, again, making sure my Track Changes feature was on.
Step 5 – I saved my revisions, renaming the document to prevent confusion, and sent it off to my editor with a sense of accomplishment. I firmly believe my editors suggested revisions will make for a stronger, more compelling story.
How do you edit? What is you plan of attack? We’re all dying to know.