Today we’re going to talk about the most, I think so at least, integral process on putting a book together: Editing.
Mind you, the author should have gone through their story four or five times before it gets to the editor, but that doesn’t really mean much. There’s always errors. I’ve never seen a short story come through that’s perfect in every way.
Most of the editing we do on short fiction is copy editing, so there’s not a lot of messing with the voice of the author. Editing so heavily that you alter the intention or voice of an author is completely counter-productive. If an editor wants to do that, maybe they should just go ahead and pick up the pen instead of being an armchair writer.
So, we’re talking grammatical issues. We seldom correct word choice or clarity problems, instead choosing to identify problem sentences and send them back to the author for rewrite. Yes, it takes a little longer. Do we get a better story that’s truer to the author’s vision, though? Absolutely.
(Another note: some of the editing is formatting, etc. Twit Publishing has its own style for layout, such as using “alright” instead of “all right.” Don’t ask.)
Below is the a picture of the first page of my manuscript from “The Phallus of Osiris.” Wrote this thing in about a week and didn’t have much time for edits, so Chris had a grand old time marking the shit out of it.
Chris prefers the old school methods on editing, mainly because he can get out of the house and stay focused on it. He prints it out, hand edits it, and enters the changes when he’s finished (using track changes, like we talked about in an earlier post). Depending on the length of the story, and the number of errors, it can take him any where from a couple hours to six or seven.
After the edits are entered, he emails a copy back to the author for approval. Sometimes he gets into arguments over particular edits, but generally he gets the OK.
Once the stories are approved, they started filtering over to my desk so I can start the layout process.
Tomorrow, I’ll post a synopsis for one of the short stories (probably mine), then I’m taking the weekend from posting. On Monday, I’ll come back with a little bit on what kind of layout we’re doing for Dieselpunk. We’re trying for an art deco look for the interior, so this should be interesting.