The Wonderful World of Edits

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, theyre 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!!

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16 thoughts on “The Wonderful World of Edits

  1. Shani, that’s a really interesting and insightful article. I love Find and Replace as well! I’m creating a document for this book (and future works) to check for regular things that I know I get wrong when typing at speed – some of which you’ve mentioned – but also to make sure I don’t overuse certain words (even if they have a limited number of alternatives!)

    Before I started writing I never realised just how much work goes into a single book. It’s a bit of a revelation, isn’t it?

    Thanks for sharing, and I am looking forward to reading The Runaway Year later this year!

    • Hi Joanna, it is incredible the common mistakes we make when writing, especially when writing at length, for hours each day. Still, that’s what the editing process is for I suppose. How much the American’s dont understand of our language is quite a revelation. I think we understand more their terms because TV is dominated by American programmes. Still, there’s usualy a universal way of saying things, so people from both sides of the pond can understand! Thanks for your reply Joanna, I’m new to this blog thing but it’s fun, I think I’m going to enjoy it!!! xxx

  2. Hi Shani, Carol Oates sent me over. Welcome to Omnific from another author! Great insights into the editing process. I found it stressful enough as an American, so I can only imagine the horror of changing some of your favorite words! But I agree that the Omnific editors are excellent and it’s a much better manuscript on the back end.

    • Hi Jennifer, lovely to ‘meet’ you! It was difficult changing some of the words, really highlighted to me the differences between the two nations, but thankfully, all done now. Have read through the first 13 chapters on the second pass and am really pleased with all changes made. Looking forward to getting to know you and fellow Omnific authors on-line! xxx

  3. Hi, I’m glad to hear you are storming along with edits. July seems like ages away but you won’t feel it rolling in and you’ll be published before you know it. Some of my tricks before submission are using http://prowritingaid.com/. It checks for things like repeated words, sentence variations, and spelling consistency among other things. There is no substitute for critique from real people but this certainly helps clean up writing. I also use a text to speak program for a final read through. It allows me to listen to the manuscript while reading along and really makes missing words and errors jump off the page. Good luck with your next round of edits. πŸ™‚

    • Au contraire, July seems like it’s just around the corner – so much to do still!!! Thanks for that writing link, going to check that out – what a fantastic tool! And a text to speak programme is a fabulous idea too – def will use both of them for my second book (a paranormal mystery), which I’m halfway through at the moment. Thanks Carol for all your comments. xxx

  4. I’m happy to hear the edits are coming along well. I hold firmly that the difference between a wannabe writer and a true writer is one who can take that (sometimes hard-to-hear) feeback & use it to make the story better. Sounds like you’ve got that covered. πŸ˜‰

    I’m also an Omni author – and have just emerged from the editing process thrilled with how everything ended up. Now we’ll see what the world thinks…

    Nice to e-meet you. πŸ™‚

    • Hi Nicki, nice to e-meet you too! I so agree with what you say about a true writer – you have to be able to realise that you get it wrong sometimes and be open to changing things – no matter, how hard that may be!!! I noticed you have another book – Divine Temptation just out, looks great – going to delve into that soon. The only Omni author I’ve read so far is Alice Clayton but there are plenty more on my TBR list! Thanks so much for stopping by, I really appreciate it. xxx

  5. Wow, that really was interesting, having to consider language across countries when using words. Some of those words you said you couldn’t use, just bemused me. It’s all very odd.

    I am however, glad it’s going generally well for you. Not far to go by the sounds of it!

    • Hi Rebecca, lovely to see you on here! The differences in language bemused me too, I didnt realise words such as ‘ropey’ or ‘bespoke’ had no real meaning across the pond. I think we’re more aware of Americanisms than they are of Britishisms because we have so much American TV here (thanks to Sky!) – certainly, in my household, American TV shows are always blaring (courtesy of the kids) and my youngest even made me a mother’s day card this year with ‘Happy Mother’s Day Mom’ emblazoned about it! All is going well, should finish the second pass today, which is great. xxx

  6. Hi Shani,
    Great post. I love Track Changes (thanks for sharing the You Tube link). It’s so easy to respond to and comment on, your editor’s changes/comments. Simples! as one little furball says. I also love Find and Replace but you do have to be careful with it. I once hit ‘Replace All’ and then realised that it had replaced words that it shouldn’t have because the word I wanted to replace was part of another word – if that makes sense. I wanted to replace the word ‘ship’ to ‘shop’ (for some reason I’d typed ‘ship’ several times instead of the local ‘shop’. When I then did another read-through, I discovered I now had a ‘relationshop’! Er … is that the place one goes to buy a boyfriend/girlfriend? πŸ™‚

    • Oh Emily, I know too well the perils of pressing Replace All with the Find and Replace function – I tend to do such a thing one by one, a bit more laborious, but it avoids any howlers! As for ‘relationshop’ – I love it! There should definitely be such a place with a ‘return within 28 days if not completely satisfied’ option after purchase! xxx

      • I like your thinking, Shani! I learnt my lesson and I never ‘Replace All,’ now. Like you, I go through one by one and when I see what it would have replaced, I’m always so glad I now do it that way. xxx

  7. Excellent piece Shani…glad I found time to read it whilst pottering/puttering around the house today in my bespoke/tailored jim jams/PJs. Will be washing the old banger/heap later, provided the the hangover clears and I feel less ropey/grim…after an ill-advised trip to the off licence/??? last night. The bloke/guy behind the counter was a right wide-boy/??? I’m sure he sold me an iffy/??? bottle of wine.Mind you with his fringe/bangs falling right over his mince pies/eyes I’m surprised he didn’t sell me a bottle of vinegar by mistake (not that you’d be able to tell the difference) I was really pissed off/pissed! xxx
    (Some of the text has been embellished for dramatic effect – I actually only had 2 glasses of a rather nice PG)

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