This week we have author Jane Godman sharing with us the pleasure and the pain of editing. Her new book out this month is, Colton and the Single Mom (The Coltons of Red Ridge).
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Editing is the opposite of writing. When editing, you are forced to rein in your natural creativity and, instead, you become precise and analytical.
For me, writing is the phase when I am in control. Editing can feel like something that is being done to me. It’s forced upon me. Like scrubbing the floor, or cleaning the oven, it’s one of those essential tasks. If I’m honest, I’d rather put it off for another day.
My feelings when an email arrives from my editor are usually mixed. The closest description I can offer is a combination of trepidation and excitement. Because, no matter how much I dislike this stage, I know this is the point where my story becomes a book.
Every story I write is an act of love. When I share it with an editor, I give that person permission to criticize my hopes and dreams for the characters and their journey. It’s a very personal relationship.
The role of the editor is to be an advocate for future readers. They look critically at a book in order to find ways to improve the reading experience.
I’ve worked with several editors, each with their own unique style. The best are masters of their craft, working with me to polish my story and make my voice shine. Those who are less effective rely too heavily on their own “rules”.
What I’ve learned from those wonderful professionals is that editing is not an add-on that happens at the end of my writing. It is part of the process. To be a good writer, I have to learn to embrace the editing process.
To put it simply, what happened before was for me. Now, I’m getting my writing ready to be seen by the world.
Edits can be tiny fixes, or they can be huge problems that take days to solve. When I was editing The Soldier’s Seduction, the second of my Sons of Stillwater Harlequin Romantic Suspense stories, my editor noticed an issue with a cell phone that unraveled a big chunk of the story. If she hadn’t seen it, readers would have, and it would have spoiled their enjoyment of the book.
Have I learned to love edits? I’m not sure I’d go that far. I think I’ve accepted that, with the pain, there can be some pleasure involved.
One of the wisest things I heard recently was that editing takes a black-and-white manuscript and makes it technicolor. I try to keep that in mind as I’m grappling with a difficult editing problem.
Colton and the Single Mom (The Coltons of Red Ridge)
This Colton cop falls for a ready-made family
A Coltons of Red Ridge story
A serial killer is on the loose, and true-crime filmmaker Esmée da Costa is on the case. K-9 cop Brayden Colton, the prime suspect’s half brother, works hard to stop her prying, but sparks fly as he falls for Esmée and her son. When Esmée and Brayden’s little family comes under siege, can they save all they love?
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