This post is two-fold. First, I will share entertaining bits of the edit I just received back from Ev Bishop on Vestige for my lovely readers. Second, I am doing this for the new and aspiring authors to give you an idea of what to expect from your first edit.
I remember what it was like the first time I sent a book to Ev. I was fairly certain she was going to email me back that my book was terrible and I wasn’t allowed to write anymore. Ever. No exception. Thirteen plus books in and guess what, I am still waiting for that day to happen. The idea of sending a book off that is a product of imagination to someone else and asking them to tear it apart in a kind and respectful, but honest way is scary as hell—don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Now down to the actual edit.
Step 1: Receive the edit back. Spend the next 10-30 minutes staring at the title page afraid to look further in the document while distracting yourself with social media. You’ve been meaning to take one or ten Buzzfeed quizzes. Posting pictures of the editing you are about to do is almost like doing it, right?
Step 2: Enough is enough. You have to look at the damn document. You know you do. It’s like a bandaid. Rip the sucker off…but not before you have the internal debate of whether you should start with the opening comments or the comments at the end. It would make more sense if you read them in order, but so long as you knew that the editor didn’t want to burn the book on your lawn, you can take anything. (For those of you who follow me regularly can probably guess which I will choose. I always have this debate yet every single time I skip to the end. I hate suspense.)
Step 3: Watch the red fly by at warp speed as you try to make it to the end of the document without reading any of it. Breath gushes out as you read the words and emotions soar. "!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE it, Liz—and it leaves the world wide open for more Abyss tales with other characters, but is an absolutely awesome ending for Holden and Olivia. I was on the edge of my seat, anxious ‘til literally the last page that it wouldn’t work out—but then it did. So lovely, so fun, SO SATISFYING. Great job!)”
Step 4: Go back to the beginning and dive in. Laughing at comments along the way, killing your darlings, and of course shedding a few tears along the way.
(Well, at least Holden is his psychotically jealous ol’ self—a good clue she hasn’t totally lost him yet. LOL.)
(Noooooooo, sniffing. NOOOOOO. You’d better not, Liz, YOU HAD BETTER NOT!!!)
LIZ SCHULTE I WILL RAIN DOWN A STORM OF TEARS AND ANGST AND EDITORIAL UNHAPPINESS ON YOUR ASS!!
Step 5: Finish and save with a happy sense of finality. Then try to move on but go back to the document several more times throughout the evening and tweak things then change them back then change them back again.
Step 6: Give it another read.
And that’s it. That’s the editing process for me. The point of this is that editing is always scary, but chances are your book isn't as bad as you think it is. The doubt and anxiety it normal. In fact it is good. It means you want to get better. You want to do better. You will learn something with each edit. Keep an open mind and find an editor you trust.
Don’t worry about proofreading round, you will be much more confident in your book by the time it comes to that. .
And for my readers, Vestige will be here so, so soon.