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Continuing the Process: Editing

Before I begin today's post, I wanted to wish everyone an early Happy Fourth of July since I'll be at a fair tomorrow and will not post anything until Friday. If anyone is in the Batavia NY area, come to the Picnic in the Park to talk and see some of the other arts I do.

Having my book accepted for a year now, I am slowly finding it easier to adjust my schedule for writing, researching and editing. Last year, though, I poured myself into my books and wrote for six hours a day, sometimes more. If you want to write, you need to learn how to edit. If I could find some older novels that I wrote, anyone could tell that my writing voice remains, but my grammar and style has improved. I will admit that I don't always write well therefore having someone else to look at the manuscripts helps. Currently, the person who does most of the initial editing is my mom.

Once that editing stage is completed, and I submit my novel, I go through a secondary editing stage with the publisher. The editor, in this case, checks for the same elements that Mom and I check: grammar, story flow, confusion and missing scenes or misplaced scenes. In addition, the editor cleans up the page for the minutia of grammar: correcting my commas, ellipses and dashes (something that will be a problem all my days). She also helps clarify some words that might confuse others. In Azure Maris one of the characters refers to haoles. Thanks to my Hawaiian friends, I knew this word referred to non-Islanders, but had not realized that it was unknown in the larger community. Because of my editor, we added a footnote explaining the term haole to non-Hawaiians.

Since I have the larger picture of the series in mind, and know when Azure returns home, what else she faces and other items like that, I wrote the ending without having her brother arrive. The editor, on the other hand, read the book and felt that at least one immediate family member would be helpful therefore, Azure's eldest brother arrives. Editor's have the position of looking out for the reader and the writer. While the writer might understand what she says, a reader might be lost or worse, misinterpret what was written. The editor helps clarify.

Having attempted to self-publish one of my novels, I understand the benefit that an editor has in the publishing process. Granted, both editor and writer are still human so we miss things, but that secondary polish to the manuscript makes it better than it would have been without an editor.

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