About That Deep-Edit…

Well-meaning, but misguided, friends often question me when I admit I’d prefer the traditional publishing route over self-publishing.

Sure, both are fraught with decisions, fears, and worries, but in my heart, I want somebody standing beside me when I face them.

Somebody like an agent. Or an editor.

You see, few of us are so exacting that we don’t need another set of eyes on what we write.

To catch our misspellings, wonky sentences, even factual errors.

I learned that early in my newspaper career.

I’d been sent to cover a celebrity who was coming to town to perform a concert. During the interview, I realized this guy was “full of himself,” treating the local media as if we were hicks (or worse).

Returning to the office, I wrote the story as I saw it, and the paper pretty much carried it that way.

The next day, you-know-what hit the fan! Readers were outraged, penning Letters to the Editor and jamming the phone lines.

They seemed to want my head on a platter.

Eventually, I found myself in the Big Boss’s office, along with members of the copy desk (who were the last eyes to read my story before it was printed).

The desk admitted it was at fault, failing to include a note that my article was “opinion,” not “news.” I was off the hook, but we’d all learned a valuable lesson: One can’t go it alone.

The reason I’ve been somewhat AWOL in Blogland is that I’m in a deep edit of my novel. And boy, is that ever needed!

While it’s been read and re-read countless times — by me and by numerous “beta readers” — mistakes have been made.

Don’t you love that phrase? It’s so lame in assessing blame, when the blame is all mine this time.

I’m the one who failed to close a quoted piece of dialog. I’m the one who failed to follow the timeline. I’m the one who left a clue hanging without resolution.

You know, several years ago, I was reading a wildly popular author, who called a character’s eyes “green” on page 2 and less than five pages later, changed them to “blue”.

I can do better, I told myself, and tossing the book aside, started one of my own.

It’s been harder than I imagined to get to this point.

And from what I’m hearing, the difficulties have just begun.

Still, I’m forging ahead. Optimistic. Hopeful.

Wish me luck, okay?!

22 thoughts on “About That Deep-Edit…

  1. Sounds like you are almost ready to hit publish (or send it off!) That is exciting. I look forward to the read and certainly wish you the luck you deserve based on the hard work you have put forth!

    • Thanks, Katybeth. It’s been a long road, and I’ve learned so much along the way. Would I have written this knowing nobody in the whole world would ever read it? You bet. In a heartbeat!

  2. “You see, few of us are so exacting that we don’t need another set of eyes on what we write.

    To catch our misspellings, wonky sentences, even factual errors.”

    I agree with you, Debbie, because I definitely need another set of eyes. Hell, I can’t even post without occasionally finding typos in posts – and this if after proofreading it TEN times! I think another set of eyes helps because we are so close to the writing, that we don’t catch the mistakes. We see it as we ‘think’ we see it.

    Hey, I don’t think I ever knew you had a career as newspaper writer. You are so multi-talented!

    “Still, I’m forging ahead. Optimistic. Hopeful.”

    Good for you! And the best to you, my friend!

    • I hear you, Ron. I often wish I had somebody to proofread my blog posts. And I’ve even left comments calling the person by the wrong name — what’s up with that?!

      You’re too kind and generous with your compliments, my friend. Me? Multi-talented? I don’t know, but I’ll bet a lot of folks would argue that I’m just too scatter-brained to focus for long on any one thing — which makes concentrating on writing a novel REALLY challenging!!

  3. We started to create a new comic in a very unique style. And we decided to kinda self-publish. I also did it with my first book. For my second book though, that I’m writing just now, I probably will try to find a publisher. It’s such an important question.

    • Hi Jodee, and Welcome! You’re right — it IS an important decision. I guess that’s another reason I’d feel better knowing someone I could trust was right there with me. Best of luck with your second book — stop by again and let us know what you’ve decided!

  4. Wow! How did I miss that you were writing a book? It is because of my lamo lifo. :-) I have gone back and forth about publishing a book of sorts—probably it would just be snippets from my blog—my best posts (imho) or a devotional but then I get scared of the whole editing process and how I would take the criticism. I am sure your final product will be wonderful and I can’t wait to see what you have come up with!

    • Thanks for the encouragement, Beth Ann! Actually, you’re probably better off living the lamo life and not worrying about my writing, ha — especially when the winter weather is as brutal as it’s been this year. I’ve considered writing a devotional, too — maybe one day.

  5. Debbie, Oh, how I can relate to your realistic portrayal of what bringing a book to publication entails. There’s a huge chasm between having a”book inside you” and reaching the final editing stage. Who wouldn’t want the attention and support of a traditional publisher? But, for my genre of memoir, it seems nearly impossible to capture the interest of agents if you aren’t a rock star. Given my age and the reality that I don’t have 20 years to wait around, I have narrowed my choices down to a small publisher and self-publishing. It is nice to have so many options these days,Which ever route we chose, it is very hard work. And what I am learning is that if I do self-publish, it will be with my own, hand-picked “street team”–professional developmental and copy editors, book cover, formatting experts, beta readers. I agree whole-heartedly that we all need a team to hold us accountable and support us in our road to publication no matter which route we take. It all requires the same commitment to excellence.
    Congratulations for reaching this milestone. It is no small feat. I look forward to holding your novel in my hands and I can say, ” I knew her when…” Exciting! I wish you smooth sailing, my friend.

    • Your kind words warm my heart, Kathy, and I sincerely thank you! I know you know just what I’m talking about — and going through. I agree that a small publisher or a self-publish option are both excellent choices. My novel is a mystery, and I hope it’s right up somebody’s alley. If I don’t at least try the traditional route, I’ll never know whether it might have worked for me. Right back at you on holding *your* opus in *my* hands and being able to exclaim, “I know her!!”

  6. That story of green eyes/blue eyes is just wonderful. It’s that kind of detail “slip” that can completely derail a written narrative, even though in film they just call them outtakes and celebrate them!

    Somewhere in my blog I talked about editing, and made mention of the fact that it isn’t just the spelling and grammar. We need to edit for coherence, check for facts, and so on. It’s a tremendous job, and one that does need more than one pair of eyes. I try so hard for perfection with my posts, but I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve found the misspelling not ten minutes after I post. It’s one reason I usually try to slow myself down and wait at least a half hour, then re-read before posting.

    I can’t even imagine writing a book – or, more to the point, I can’t imagine writing fiction. People who do it amaze me, whether it’s Jane Austen or Jane-down-the-block. I think it’s just marvelous that you’ve taken the plunge and are going at it so professionally. I have no doubt it’s going to be a book worth reading.

    • Your words warm my heart, my friend, and I thank you for them. It’s definitely been a long learning curve — writing nonfiction (newspaper stories) has a way of making one think critically about every tiny thing. One difference, of course, is that newspaper work relies on deadlines, and with fiction (at least right now), I’ve had the luxury of taking my time — and, I hope, making it right!

      Your perfectionism shows in your posts, all of which I’ve found interesting and extremely well-written. Many of them are more like essays (and not in the bad way we had to write essays in class!) I, too, have found errors in some of my past posts — much to my chagrin! Best to read and re-read before hitting that ‘Publish’ button!

  7. I am wishing you bucket-loads of luck! I can’t imagine the energy it must take to write a book and make sure it’s just right. I know when it’s all said and done, it will be great and I hope I get the chance to read it.

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