Recently, I have been involved in edits of my first book, The Runaway Year, coming out in July 2013 and, wow, what a process it’s been!
For a start, my publishers (Omnific Publishing) are American, so – quite a lot of ‘Britishisms’ I’ve used throughout the text have had to be removed. Not replaced with Americanisms, because it’s important to keep the English flavour of the book, but rather with ‘Universalisms’ (is there such a word? If not, there is now!).
So, ‘banger’ (Layla’s much-loved but beaten up old Mazda MX5) becomes ‘heap’, ‘ropey’ becomes ‘grim’ and ‘bespoke’ becomes ‘tailored’. Those were the easy ones. Some words or sayings have had to be rethought entirely. For example, in Britain, we potter, the Americans, however, putter. Could I use that word instead I was asked? Since ‘put’ is usually associated with the golfing green in the UK, I thought not. Hence a complete re-write of that particular sentence, taking out any mention of pottering or puttering at all (which is a shame, cos both are lovely words just not universal!).
Other common editing faux pas myself and I’m sure plenty of others have made include:wander when you really mean wonder (and vice versa) and bought when you really mean brought (and again, vice versa!). There, they‘re and their should be double-checked in all instances (oh, how I love Find and Replace) as well as your and you’re. When you’re in the grip of the muse and the words are flowing, it’s amazing how easily the wrong version can slip in!
If submitting your manuscript to an American publisher, it’s important to remmber that they use double quotes for speeches, not single quotes. Still, that’s when Find and Replace comes in handy again. Also, get to grip with Track Changes, the editing programme Editors use, before embarking on any edits – it’s a bit fiddly but it’s absolutely brilliant. I went on-line and worked my way through a 7-minute tutorial on YouTube – it was all I needed to get stuck in. Here’s one I liked – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYIqRGVwWhY – but there are lots of different ones – see which one suits you.
Scene changes were the biggie regarding edits – but luckily I only had one of those. As they were the last two chapters, however, they were key and so needed careful handling. I had also included in the book 4 chapters from the male perspective (2 each from both of the main male protagonists). These were removed (much to my initial horror!) as it was decided to focus entirely on the main female characters instead (of which there are 3 – Layla, Penny and Hannah), the idea being it would make the story more streamlined. On reading it over afterwards, I have to admit, those editors know what they’re doing!
I’m on the second pass now – which means the second wave of edits and they are (thankfully!) much, much lighter than the first, just the odd word here, a couple of sentences there, a bit of punctuation.
It has been (and still is) a fascinating process with some real suprises along the way (as mentioned above, the deletion of the male character POVs, chapters, although I may well feature them on this blog at a later date). I’m still very much at the start, but it’s a good start and I’m looking forward to what’s coming next.
With so many good books out there, I’m sure you’re not stuck for something to read. But if you are, check out Omnific’s website – http://www.omnificpublishing.com/ – there are some real gems on there, ranging from the sweetly romantic to the downright raunchy. Something for everyone then, I think you’ll agree!!