I am currently editing IXEOS: Rebellion, book 2 in the IXEOS trilogy. For writers, I think editing is contrary to our nature – I don’t edit at all when I write, and that feeling of creating a new world is why it’s so fun. Editing… Well, editing is about tearing down that new world to a certain degree, and it can be painful!
I use the same process on all my books. I write the first draft with zero edits. After it’s finished, I go make a fairly quick read-through and fix all the obvious things, like bad typos and misspellings. At that point, I email the book to beta readers. I know, some people send them a late draft. But I don’t use my beta readers as line editors or proofreaders. I don’t want to spend a ton of time editing before they’ve read the book and made their comments.
What does that mean exactly? Well, let’s say I spend a lot of time editing a scene and have it perfect. When the beta readers respond with their comments, half of them hate that scene. Since my general rule of thumb is to pay attention when 2 or more beta readers make the same comments, that means I need to really consider the scene, and if it should even be in the book.
It’s possible that I’ll delete the scene. At best, it would obviously require a lot more editing. Because I’ve already spent a lot of time on it, there’s a mental challenge here, because it is human nature to defend something you’ve spent a lot of time on. Perhaps I wouldn’t be as objective as I need to be.
Now, I tend to write pretty clean first drafts, so this works for me. I specifically ask beta readers to not worry about grammar and typos (most can do that, some just absolutely can’t let those go!). After I get their feedback, then I really start digging into the work.
My first pass after getting the feedback is a detailed reading of the book, with the beta readers’ comments close at hand. As I’m reading, I’m looking for character continuity, dialog issues, lost story threads, and, of course, analyzing the feedback against what I’m reading. This is a pretty long process, as I’m looking at all the big picture things, as well as working on grammar, typos and word placement.
When this is done, I print off the book and do it again, making notes in the margins. I find this “on paper” edit very helpful, as I tend to skim as I get tired when reading on the computer, and no amount of mental flogging seems to stop it. Sometimes I use multi-colored pens, but usually I just use one color and use arrows, circles and notes to clarify the changes.
The next step is my least favorite: putting the on-paper edits into the document. During this time, I feel like my eyeballs are going to implode. It’s very easy to get tired, and I need more frequent breaks to stay sharp. While I’m doing this, I am not reading the manuscript. This is simply a hunt-and-change operation.
After this step, I’m in the home stretch. I read through again, this time really looking at word usage and placement, taking out unnecessary adverbs, and doing “finds” for my most overused words. (“Just” is my worst offender, and I tend to use “and” and “but” a lot, and not always correctly!) I also do a grammar scan on Scrivener and check out all the spelling and grammar suggestions.
I’m really close at this point! I move the document to Word on my pc and do another grammar/spelling check using Grammarly. (Grammarly doesn’t work within Word on a Mac, so I have to move it over, then move it back.) The final check is when I move the document back to Word on my Mac, when I once again do a grammar/spelling check using the Word tool. Amazingly, the three programs all skip problems, and all propose different solutions!
At this point, I run around my house announcing to my family that I’m done. My son always gives me a high five. My husband, who is usually busy with his own book, smiles, waves and keeps working. Since my announcement to my daughter is via text, since she’s in college, I usually get an all-caps response saying “YAY!!!!!!!” I congratulate myself for awhile… And then get to work on the next project.
About the Book:
The McClellands are enjoying a lazy summer vacation at the beach when they are lured from our world into Ixeos, an alternate Earth. Finding themselves lost in a maze of tunnels under Paris and surrounded by strangers, they discover that they have been brought to Ixeos for one purpose: to take the planet back from humanoid aliens who have claimed it. With the aid of the tunnels and a mysterious man named Landon, the teens travel the world seeking the key that will allow them to free Darian, the long-imprisoned rebel leader.
The aliens aren't the only problem on Ixeos -- the McClellands have to deal with brutal gangs, desperate junkies, and a world without power, where all the technology is owned by the aliens, and where most of the population has been killed or enslaved.
The worst part? There's no way home.
About Jennings Wright:
Born and raised in Rockledge, Florida, Jennings spent her early years reading anything she could get her hands on, when she wasn't spending time in and on the water. She won a prize in the 6th grade for her science fiction stories.
Jennings attended the University of the South and the University of Tampa, graduating with a B.A. in Political Science, and almost enough credits for B.A.s in both English and History. She spent time over the years doing various kinds of script doctoring, business writing, editing, and teaching writing, but mostly having and raising her family, homeschooling her children, owning and running a business with her husband, and starting a non-profit to Uganda.
Thanks to a crazy idea called NaNoWriMo Jennings got back into creative writing in 2011 and hasn't stopped since. She's written four novels and a screenplay in less than a year, with more ideas on the drawing board. She currently lives in North Carolina with her husband, also a writer, and two children, and travels extensively.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Note: All opinions presented in book and product reviews are my own. Opinions presented in posts authored by others reflect the view of the author only and not necessarily my view or opinion. If a product was given to me for review, the source of that product is noted in the post. Amazon and Book Depository links are affiliate links and I do earn a small amount for each purchase. Other affiliate links will be noted in the post.