Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Revision Diaries (4)

i got my line edits this week, so you know what that means...
we're in for another round of:
The Revision Diaries: Confessions of an Author on a Deadline!

first, a brief word about line edits, for those not in the know. (those of you who are in the know, feel free to nod your head all, y'know, knowingly as we go along.)

line edits come after an author has done most of the major revisions. instead of big story or character suggestions, your editor will focus in on smaller moments on the page - bits that aren't working or need rewording, beats that are missing, moments that need to be amped up, and of course, lines that need fixing.
the accompanying editorial letter is probably shorter, but the manuscript pages probably have more marks. it's the detail work.

so i have had my line edits for all of 24 hours, and of course, i have already busted out the colored Post Its, consulted with my crit partners and sent one - possibly deranged and definitely way-too-long - email to my editor.
now i am ready to begin the work.

here's all i know for sure about the work that is to come:
it doesn't necessarily get easier.

when you are revising a rough draft, you can take a sledgehammer to that thing. you can go all demolition derby on it and rebuild from scratch.
when you get to revisions with your editor, it's more like tearing down a single wall and building it back up in a different spot, with better support beams and a fresh coat of paint.
and now i'm learning, when you reach line edits, you have to trade that old sledgehammer for a scalpel.

(yes, i know my architectural metaphor just turned surgical. i would fix that, but i'm saving all of my editorial skills for the manuscript right now. thanks for your understanding.)

what i'm trying to say is this step in the editorial process is all about being careful. there may be a scene to add or rework here and there, but mostly my job is to make the fixes without mucking up the manuscript too much, since it's so close to being done. it's making me just a little bit afraid to touch the page, for fear of smudging what is already polished.

as soon as i get over that fear, i'll be back with another installment in the revision diaries!


Anonymous said...

Good luck! (just discovered your blog on AbsoluteWrite)
I have not had the chance yet to go through that part of the writing process (hmmm I heard finishing my first novel would help :-)) but just reading about it is quite exciting!
Looking forward to the next installment and congrats!

Anonymous said...

I'm still in the early stages of editing, so I'm actually looking forward to this. It means I'm one step closer. Thanks for the post!

erinjade said...

commutinggirl, welcome to the blog! i hope you'll visit often. :)

elsie, best of luck with your edits!

Linda said...

Good luck! Line edits sound a little intimidating to me, because I tend to obsess over single words. I'm sure you'll do great though :)

Dawn Kurtagich said...

Ooh, good luck! Line edits can be completely awesome though, because, as you said, they are not the big, huge edits :D

You will do awesome!