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Editing: What Did I Learn?

Way back in March, I wrote a post about my plans to line edit The Trickster’s Lover, my paranormal romance/urban fantasy novel with Norse gods. (Check out a preview here.)

Wow, did I ever have no freaking clue what I was getting myself into.

no idea what I'm doing
Actual footage of Samantha MacLeod

Since that time I’ve gotten a cover, one of my erotic short stories has been accepted for publication, I’ve re-written the novel’s blurb about 500 times… And I’ve still been editing.

And editing.

Every page looks like this. Every. Page.

My novel is over 100,000 words, which is almost 400 pages of double-spaced, Times New Roman manuscript. And I seriously underestimated the amount of time it would take take for me to comb through 400 pages (and also, you know, keep my day job).

bang head against wall
Actual footage of Samantha MacLeod

So what exactly did I learn during this long, painful process?

Well, to start with: Typos.

So. Many. Typos.

fix your grammar
This is especially embarrassing, because I TEACH COLLEGE COMPOSITION!

And I found inconsistencies – a window that was open during a February scene, or a meal that started as ribs and ended up as smoked fish. A student who had two different names in the space of three paragraphs.

I also read the fabulous and very helpful book Manuscript Makeover by Elizabeth Lyon, and I incorporated much of her advice. (Yes, I’m the type of person who believes you can read a book to find the answer to any and every question in life.)

I used riff writing to expand on my character’s emotional reactions. I changed my vocabulary to be more reflective of my neurotic, overeducated protagonist, Caroline Capello.

Basically, I spent the last three months obsessing over every word. And I mean Every. Word.

3-Depp writing
This was me. But without the slinky.

And then, one sunny morning at a cute, local coffee shop, I finished editing the printed manuscript. A few days later, I finished making those changes to the electronic version.

Then the hard part: Calling it done.

obama mic drop

Sending the manuscript off to my wonderful and very patient graphic designer, Kit Foster, means It. Is. Done.

I can’t keep obsessing over that one scene. I can’t wake up at 3 in the morning and change two lines of dialog.

It’s time for me to just…

let it go

So what am I going to obsess about now?

Oh yeah, the sequel…

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