Edits, Comments, and a Green Pen09:42
As many of you know, I’ve completed the last round of edits and revisions on my debut novel, which is scheduled for a Spring 2011 launch. Working on the novel again was an experience I wouldn’t trade for the world and the final product is, in my opinion, a much better work because of it. With my editor’s help, I was able to organize and adapt the novel into the form that told my story with the precise emotional, comedic, and dramatic effect that I had originally intended upon first writing it.
WEbook thought it would be a great idea to show you all an actual edited page of my manuscript. The accompanying photo was taken of my original manuscript and the writing on it is from my editor at Atheneum Books, Nami Tripathi.
You’ll notice that she used green ink, as I noted in a previous post, to make comments, suggestions, and ask questions.
As nervous as I was as a first-time author to receive my editor’s notes, it was a great relief to be blessed with such an insightful and amazing editor. I would hope the same for any writer out there who fears his or her work being placed in a stranger’s hands. I am hoping that giving you all the rare opportunity to view part of a professionally edited manuscript will help to ease some of your nerves concerning the publishing process.
With Nami’s blessing, I'm happy to share a few notes she provided on one particular page of the manuscript. Note that this is from the earliest draft of the novel and additional changes may have been made to this actual page, etc.
If you read the notes at the very top left of the page, you’ll see that Nami’s approach, overall, was less critical and more inquisitive. In order to make sure my future readers would fully understand things, Nami asked frequent questions concerning my intention with certain statements. In the top right, a positive comment about the main character and his brother let me know that this relationship was being understood as I intended. Further down the page, you’ll notice a couple of suggestions to reword a few sentences; these changes, each time, being asked, not forced upon me.
Lastly, and this was why I chose to share this page, Nami shared her liking for my narrator’s profanity of choice: “ass-hat.” Aside from making me laugh with her comment, this actually relieved some stress on my part, as I had worried, from the moment the editing process started, that she would hate the use of this word. I know it’s a silly thing to worry about, but it says a lot about my seventeen-year-old, slightly cynical narrator.
Just remember that editing and revising isn’t something for writers to be afraid of. In fact, given the right editor, it can make all the difference in the world.