Monday, May 4, 2009

Final proofread and another Submission

Yesterday I finished off the final edits for my fourth romantic suspense with The Wild Rose Press, called Relentless, and sent it off to my editor. Feels great to have it done! My critique partner was a big help, and she's pointed out on several occasions that I intrude on the story with my own author voice from time to time. Bad Kaylea!

In the final pass, I always try to add as many of the five senses as I can to make the writing more vivid. Smell and taste are the ones I most commonly neglect during the drafting phase. Then, I always look for phrases beginning with "It was", or "There was/were", since they denote passive language and most of the time can be rephrased. Another biggie is "which", and most of the time that can be replaced with "that", or ommitted entirely.

Catching little inconsistencies is the toughest part at this stage, since I've been deeply into the story for months, so that's why it's so important for a fresh pair of eyes to take a look for those. Hence my fabulous critique partner, whom I have no doubt will be a NYT bestselling author someday soon.

Mistakes I've noticed a lot of new authors make is adding too many dialogue tags, or using too many adjectives with them. For example, "Why can't you just leave me alone?" she yelled angrily, can be reworded as, "Why can't you just leave me alone!" We get that she's yelling both from the exclamation point and the itallics, and by her words I think it's pretty clear she's ticked off. Try to make sure your dialogue is uncluttered, and only qualify how a character says something if it's important or can't be conveyed by the words they're speaking.

Last check--typos! You know the ones... Your instead of you're, their instead of there. I could go on. They're tricky to catch if you're doing your fourth or fifth pass through the manuscript. As the author, your eyes tend to skip over these little guys unless you take my advice and read the thing out loud. Your family might look at you strangely, but it really works. Promise!

So after I did all of these last minute things, I submitted the novel off into the ether. Hope my editor likes it!

What techniques do you use when doing the final polish on a manuscript?


Judi Romaine said...

I read your edit blog with interest since I'm the edit monster - I edited my 3rd book (1st with TWRP) 15 times and then four more with my editor. Not sure what the problem is except I'm addicted to perfect craft - I can't just edit for typos or simple things - every time I do an edit, I rewrite the book - that's why so many times! I'm now rewriting my 1st book I recaptured the contract on since my editor with TWRP said I need to rework the plot. Now this is going to be a long process! I not only rework the plot but have to rewrite every sentence.

In the long run I'll probably learn tons from doing that - but in the short run, it takes me a year to do finish the edits! Eeek! lynn romaine - Long Run Home due out 09/18/09 TWRP

Beth Caudill said...

I have two problems with editing. Either I come up with something new to add in or I am so sick of the book I hate everything about it.

Hopefully as I write more, I'll grow out of one or both of these. :)

I try to do two major edit rounds: one for senses and second for extraneous words (just, that, was, felt/feel, etc.) a final read through will hopefully get those incorrect spellings or missing word errors.

Anything more and I start having hives about the story. I'll hate everything and the doubt monster will rise up and I'll become indecisive about everything (even the good stuff). Less is more works best for me and edits.

Kaylea Cross said...

Ugh, Judy, I feel your pain! I'll get out my pompoms and cheer you on. You can do it--just break it down into digestible chunks. And you know what? I bet with subsequent MSs, you'll find you won't have to do so many passes when you edit. Promise!

Beth: That happened with my first book. By the time I was done (I mean REALLY done) I couldn't bear to look at it again. Especially by the time you get through galleys, etc, right? My system seems to be pretty similar to yours, and I think it works pretty well. Not that I'm biased or anything!

Wendi Zwaduk said...

I read mine aloud as well, but I also give it to someone who has no vested interest in the work and have them read it. Wow, you find all kinds of things you messed up that way.

Goodness knows, we can't always find every little thing we mess up, but your tips do help!