Wednesday, September 2, 2015

IWSG: Things I Found Helpful While Editing . . .

The worst thing ever is to pick up a book you’ve published (or a proposal you’ve already sent out) only to find a mistake in the text. A spelling error, a typo, the wrong word usage, a grammar glitch. You think “Oh, if I only had the chance to go back and fix it before it was seen by another set of eyes.” Clicking heels of ruby slippers. Be careful what you wish for!

I was thrilled to “go back in time” with the reissues of my “Touched by Midnight” vampire romance series currently being re-repackaged and re-released by ImaJinn Books with a book each month through the end of the year. The original run of the first three books was back in the mid-‘90s and I don’t think the pages ever saw the touch of a copy editor. I jumped at the chance to repair the glaring errors and update the prose. Little did I know that would mean going through each book with three complete passes from initial scan to copy edit to final proof 
 a full read through due almost every week with the books overlapping – while trying to move forward on my WIP. AND working full time. Needless to say by the time the first book was ready for readers in July, the thrill was SO gone. And I still had the rest of the nine books to go . . .

Rather than bemoaning my good fortune, being ADD/OCD I made a list of positive things to keep me focused on my goal. Here are a few of those things that kept me sane (and no, alcohol and self-medication weren’t on the list!):

1. The end product. When the books are released, they’ll be clean and corrected. (Until I read one and immediately find an error),

2. Death to Passive Voice! I’ve never seen so many “was”s as in that first chapter of the first book. Now, the prose is more active and engaging,

3. Commas. As the opening graphic illustrates, proper placement makes all the difference!

4. Dangling Participles. (Don’t you hate it when that happens!) I didn’t know what those were back in the ‘90s . . . and apparently neither did my first copy editors.

5. Sleep. The first weeks, I dreamed about sentence structure and forced myself to stay up to hours only my characters would keep. Perhaps this explains the original poor edits. Clear mind=clear eyes. That 7 hours of quality snooze made all the difference.

6. Realistic goals. As much as I tried to stay ahead of the deadlines, when they pinched, I let my editor know and she found me the extra wiggle room. Brenda Chin, bless your heart!!

7. Exercise. Yikes, the E-word. But after being hunched over the keyboard from 9-to-5 five days a week then putting in another 25-40 in my home office made for very grumpy arthritic joints. Taking a break to stretch and move kept me from popping Motrin like TicTacs.

8. Keurig coffee. The elixir of gods.

9. Humor. Why so serious? Taking an hour to watch one of the funny episodes of “Supernatural” sometimes made the hours of eyestrain more palatable. And so did my new guide to copy edit symbols:

10. The End. That dangling carrot never tasted so sweet!

What keeps you going through those pesky edits? What errors drive you nuts when you find them in published works?

Enough ruminating. My WIP is out getting its final read through and Vamp Book 6 should be popping up in my e-mail any minute looking for that one last proof read. Fire up the coffee maker!

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Twitter hashtag is #IWSG 

IWSG awesome co-hosts for the September 2nd posting will be Julie Flanders, Murees Dupé, Dolorah at Book Lover, Christine Rains, and 
Heather Gardner!


  1. Great list! I'm guilty of using too much of the passive voice. Thankfully I have a terrific critique partner that calls me on it every single time! Chocolate and cookies get me through and the rush of the journey itself. Have a great Wednesday! :)

    1. Chocolate and cookies . . . Why didn't I think of that?!

  2. Love that list I used to get irritated at errors in published books--until I found them in my own. No matter how many eyes go over a ms, no mater how many times, mistakes slip through. You gotta do your best. Go luck with the re-releases.

    1. My favorite was the r left out of shirt right in the middle of a love scene (back in the days when they actually set type!).

  3. LOL! Oh Nancy...I am soooo going to use that new copy guide list! Thanks for the chuckle!

  4. I think that's why I fear the release of my first book. I'm afraid of finding one of those pesky errors. Thank you so much for your kind words on my blog.

  5. I think no matter how much we edit, we can always find one mistake! And then it's like YIKES! I'm glad to see these books come back out. I loved them then and I'm sure you will entice many more readers to your vampires!

  6. I'm in the process of reissuing (as e-books) some of the romances I had published a few eons ago. I like having a chance to rewrite some of those awkward sentences and catch typos, etc. I'm glad I'm not under a deadline, but it's going to be great to have all of your early books back in circulation. Keep at it, Nancy.

  7. Your posts always entertain and inform, Nancy. Best of luck with the re issues.

  8. Found a great "Edit Guide" starting with first chapter again of "Hastings' Dead." Thanks for your list.