The last few weeks have been a blur, mostly. I have been in the throes of editing (and editing*) the manuscript for my book. Here’s an approximation of how this process went (I can only write this to the best of my limited memory: I just mentioned how much of a blur my recent past has been, remember?):
1. Back in January, I edited the entire manuscript (240 pages, nearly 50,000 words) for what may have already been the fifth or sixth time before sending it to my publisher so she could have her editor mark it up.
2. On March 2 (was it only THIRTEEN DAYS AGO? Oy vey.), I received the “marked-up” manuscript from my publisher. (Don’t get me started.) I took a few days to make the necessary changes. The problem was, that editor made corrections but didn’t really suggest ways to improve the way I wrote. Luckily, I have a secret weapon…
3. Along the way, I sent my sister chunks of the manuscript as I finished them up so she could–as she so generously offered–edit it again. (Though my sister is not a professional editor and does not write as often or as much as I do, she totally could. She’s a fantastic writer who can read something, analyze it, and make helpful suggestions on how to make it better.) It is always good to have another set of eyes look at something like this. For me, her mad editing skillz were invaluable, because not only is she as picky as I am (in a good way, of course), but I have been staring at this manuscript for so long (some parts? YEARS.) that I needed the extra help.
4. When Julesie got the sections back to me, I read through the manuscript methodically again and made changes along the way, all while being entertained by her personal notes like “Do what you want with this section because I don’t want to be murdered by you tonight!” and “Please don’t stab me in the a$$ with a fork!**”
5. After I made my changes throughout the entire manuscript, I sent it back to Julesie for one final read-through, and…
6. Wouldn’t you know it? She found even more errors. While going through this process, I have discovered that I have a “quote problem” and, almost as annoyingly, a “semi-colon problem”. If nothing else, “I” have learned “so much” about myself and my writing “style”; I decided to look at it as a “silver lining”.
7. Late last night she sent me the manuscript after making suggestions during the last read-through, and, right after I gave her the Smurf theme song earworm by tweeting about it and she responded with a tweet containing one of my biggest childhood fears, I settled in upstairs in my bed to work on it until I couldn’t see straight. Two and a half hours later, I was finished for the night.
8. This morning, on four and a half hours of sleep, I got up and went right back to work. I started from the very beginning of the manuscript, making sure that street names included “Street”, “Drive”, “Avenue”, or whatever was correct.
9. After that pass-through, I started at the beginning AGAIN. I double checked things like whether the word century (as in 20th century) should be capitalized, if all of the tours I named throughout the book were italicized, and whether the names of museum exhibits had quotes around the names, leaving the place, department, or section names of areas within museums unquoted. (Exhausting, right?)
10. I ran spell check AGAIN.
11. I read it through one more time (honestly, I’ve lost count), and then, at 8:30 a.m., emailed it to my publisher. It’s going to the typesetter now and in a matter of two or three weeks I’ll be able to look at a proof. That will be my last chance to made any editorial changes, and then–voila’!–I’ll have a
I mentioned to my publisher that if a book’s success could be determined by how much time and care is taken in the editing of it, my book will be a best-seller for sure.
By the way, if you get a copy of my book (available for pre-order as early as next week–stay tuned!) and see any typos, don’t tell me. I don’t want to know right now. Save it up for when I blog about preparing the second edition!
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need a nap.
**which would be funny to anyone, but it was especially funny to me because she was referencing a true story about our Dad and his sister, which I actually posted HERE if you would like to check it out.
©2011 Suburban Scrawl