I was recently asked to write an article about the my publishing experiences, namely the editing processes.
Java John Z hosted the article. The full release can be found on his excellent site at:
April 10, 2020
Java John Z “View Finder” Book Blast, Guest Post, and Giveaway
The Publishing Experience: Editing
“Revising a story down to the bare essentials is always a little like murdering children, but it must be done.”
~ Stephen King
Kill our darlings, indeed.
When View Finder was published, many fine and creative people played important roles: the cover designer, the interior designer, the pre-launch reviewers and most important in my mind, the editors.
Being a firm believer in the value and gifts a book receives from professional editing, I want to talk about that important of collaboration. From my first novel, Distractions (1984) through the following eleven Danser novels, I have been graced to work with passionate and creative and professional editors. This second set of eyes, with the gift and crafting skills of revision and questioning, are invaluable.
As a novelist, I live within each work for months; a daily dance of choices blended with imagination and all that I’ve researched. Therein lays the rub and the siren call – there are times when I can no longer see a plot glitch and yes, a misused word.
Part of the delight in writing seven days a week is in the exploration of language and its musical tools: punctuation. Voice is constructed with these, but sometimes the musician is off key, having a grand old time and so immersed in the storytelling that the weed field of, say, semicolons or “ands” he or she has developed a jones for are tripping up the readability of the book.
In rides the editor, with a fresh and exacting view, who can take a scythe to that field of word grass, cutting for clarity and focus without nicking the flowers.
And let’s face it, no matter how many drafts a writer works through (I typically do three before a novel leaves the front porch), sometimes we can be blind to the fact that the 9mm Glock has somehow teleported from the kitchen table to the glove box in the sedan out back. Don’t know about you, but I’d much rather have this pointed out by an editor than a reader.
The final vital ingredient in the relationship is trust: the belief that both author and editor have the singular focus on the readability of the story. Not much else really matters.
I am currently working on the revisions of the next the next Danser novel, Black Veil, which is in the capable (and brilliant) care of Nicki Kuzn, quite simply one of the best editors on the planet. She and I will go through the book at least three times before my publisher and their editor gets it. As always, I’m looking forward to her ideas and revisions and suggestions. And making sure I don’t leave any guns laying around unfired.
All the best,
“A very good editor is a collaborator.”
– Ken Follett