Point of View: Edits, Edits, Edits

Scott

It’s an inevitable part of writing. When you send off your finished manuscript to the publisher, as any writer will tell you, there’s a palpable sense of relief. Your long writing slog is finally over, and you can turn your attention to something else.

If only that were true.

You know how they say “for every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction”? Well, for every manuscript, there’s an equal (and sometimes opposite) edit. or three. Edits are the boomerang of the writing world.

I really can’t complain.

Well, obviously I can. LOL… but edits are a part of life if you’re an author, and they are what makes your work stronger, cleaner, and clearer for the reader. Without edits, there would be an exponentially greater number of shitty books out there. Most editors are amazing at what they do – certainly all of them I’ve worked with – and they are the ones who polish your lump of coal until it shines like a diamond..

For me, the problem with edits is how they sidetrack my writing. it seems like I just build up a good head of steam on a project and boom, there’s an edit from an earlier one waiting me in my email inbox.

This happened this last week, as I was working hard on “Lander”, the sequel to Skythane. My third edit came in for “The Stark Divide”. Normally third edits are a breeze, and this one was, too. But my editor has learned that I like to take a final full read of each story before it goes out to the public. On “Skythane”, I did this at the proofing stage and drove everyone a little nuts. So this time he clued me in that this was the time do do it, and just like that, I had a 300 page book to read in a week.

I’ve learned I need to take this extra step after having let errors slip through in some of my past works. Yeah, a good proofer should have caught them. But ultimately it’s my name on the cover, and I am responsible for the book as it goes out.

So I buckled down and read the whole damned thing again this last week (if you are not a writer, you probably have no idea how sick of our own work we are by final edit, and how long it takes to like it again. But that’s a discussion for another day). I managed to get through it by the due date *and* to do some writing in the meantime, so yay me. But it definitely threw me a bit off track.

So for my writer friends, how do you manage your edits when they come in? Is it “all hands on deck” until they are done? Do you set aside separate time for writing and for editing? Do edits make you crazy, or have you learned to live with them? Tell me your tips and tricks.

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One Reply to “Point of View: Edits, Edits, Edits”

  1. Alina Popescu

    When there are edits coming my way, I set separate slots of times for editing and writing. I try hard to write every day and no, i don’t count edits as completing the challenge.

    I don’t really find edits disruptive, but they do tend to get more time out of my day when needed. It also helps if I have some idea when edits are going to be sent to me, that way I know to slot them in, so I don’t feel like they’re interfering with my writing.