The Editing Nightmare

I cannot tell you how many people in the last half decade have said to me; “I’ve always wanted to write a book, but it’s so hard.” My standard response is, ‘Writing the book is the easy part. Editing is where it gets tough’.

I have five books on the shelves and am currently going through the editing nightmare for the sixth (the second book in my With Honors series, Making the Dean’s List). And my advice to anyone who has written a book and believes they are ready to begin editing is, make sure you choose an editor that you REALLY like!! I cannot stress this enough. Be sure he/she is someone you have a LOT in common with, someone who has the same beliefs, morals, ethics…sense of humor, twisted mindset, and childish behavior that mimics your own because otherwise you will be in for a world of hurt when editing begins.

Most authors will tell you that their books are their babies. Some people hate this term, but I feel it is entirely true and have said as much myself numerous times. Why? Because I did give them life, just as I did to the three humans I brought into this world, obviously not in the same way. But I did create them, love them, cried over them, stressed over them, worried over them (still do) and pray that I raised them well enough to stand on their own against the world.

That being said, an editor’s job is to dress up your baby, paint its nails, trim/curl/style its hair, and put beautiful, matching, clothes on it before its cotillion. An editor’s job is not easy, not by a long shot. Not only do they spend tireless hours staring at a computer screen trying to make sure all the punctuation is correct, every period, every comma, every semi-colon perfectly placed, every word spelled correctly and used in its proper context, they also have to make sure the story-line flows flawlessly. And if they are working on a series, they must remember everything from the previous books down to the smallest detail to make sure all loose ends are tied up. They must know the characters inside and out to make sure that even the simplest phrase is something that particular character would say and that it fits with their personality. They must make sure the author doesn’t forget anything that would be addressed by the reader. They are, in short, the conscience of the writer. They are the voice in our heads that mutter…‘Would that character do/say that?’, ‘Does this add to or subtract from the storyline?’.

A good editor will make you cry, make you scream, cause you to question your talent, make you walk away from your computer completely so you don’t respond to their email hastily, and will bring out the very best in you and make you shine. Since my second book, Enlightened, I have been extremely fortunate to have found an amazing and talented editor, Katrina Randall, whom I love dearly. I reply upon her completely and trust her fully with the care of my babies. She has done all of the above to me, but most importantly…she gets me! She knows what I am trying to convey, she pushes me to work harder, longer hours and brings me to exhaustion. But she also puts the finishes touches on my babies and ensures they are at their very best before presenting them to the world .

So when you sit down to finally write that masterpiece to send out into the world, enjoy it, savor it…have fun along your journey!! And remember this is the best part of the entire process because as soon as you hit submit and it travels to your editor…that’s when the hard part truly begins!!

Now that I have praised her for all she’s done for me I can picture her smiling at me all the way from New York, but that smile quickly fades and she glares at me once more saying…”Thanks for the shout-out. I’m glad you had fun writing your little blog post this morning, but you’ve got re-writes to do and the clock is ticking on your release date. So…stop procrastinating and GET BACK TO WORK!!”