Both Sides Now

I got my first round of edits from Astraea and although there weren’t a lot of corrections, I seemed to make the same mistakes over and over. I tell myself it’s a matter of unlearning what I thought I knew and learning what this publisher accepts. I’m old school and still tend to slide into omnipotent point of view, so had a little re-writing to do also.

At the same time, I am editing a book by another author. This is a leap because my book has no “hot” scenes or questionable language, while his is frankly a sexual romp with words I’d never heard before and situations I’d never imagined. The trick is to forget my prejudices and read for the story content; and to look for typos and grammatical errors. And foremost, try not  to impose my admittedly Puritan ethics on his exuberant style.

In a way, it’s a good idea to have someone edit your book who writes in a completely different style and genre. It takes a fresh eye and an open mind. The same thing goes for editing someone’s else’s book. If your styles are similar it is too easy to slide your own voice into their work without realizing it.

Editing is tough work and I admire anyone who takes it on. They need a keen eye and a good grasp of grammar, spelling, and structure. My editor caught me using expressions that were not  in common usage in the late nineteenth century, when my story takes place.  She took the time to look up the etymology, something I should have done before submission. She even looked up the dates the states entered the union and caught me out on what could have been an error if my book had not been an alternate history where some of the states we have now were swallowed up by Republic of Mexico and the Confederation of Tribes.

So I am looking at editing from both sides, accepting and understanding the reasons for the corrections in my manuscript and looking for errors in my friend’s work. I think both approaches will make me a better writer.







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