Friday, May 25, 2012

Writing: Edits

I've told my readers that I'm going to devote a few Fridays to posts about writing. Unfortunately for a writer, the process doesn't stop when we hit "send" to speed our manuscript to the editor. There are a number of edits and re-writes that follow.

Recently, I've been working on the first edit--the so-called substantive or macro edit--for my next book. Here is the gist a few of the comments from my editor:

(The hero's faith journey)...is a bit choppy, and feels tacked on. Can you review it and see if you can smooth it out, make it feel more natural/believable?


(A character) asks (the hero) for advice about Christianity: This needs to be a tad more subtle. (The reason) seems too convenient. 


(The hero's brother) doesn't appear except in one phone call. Perhaps some emails would keep him in the picture more.


(Two of the antagonists) don't sustain a credible threat. In the opening scene, they're a huge threat and we truly fear them. Could we reshape them a bit to carry some of that through the book?

So that's the idea behind a substantive or macro edit. In prior books, I've changed names, even changed sexes of characters in response to such an edit. I've made tweaks and twisted the plot a bit. I don't have any problem with suggestions from an editor. Any author knows he/she can choose to ignore editorial suggestions, but if they do so, they should be ready to back up their actions. Personally, I'll take all the help I can get.

In a few weeks, I'll talk about the next edit--the line edit. If you just can't wait, my agent, Rachelle Gardner, recently posted a look at the editing process, and you can check it out here.

Meanwhile, what writing or publishing questions do you have?

2 comments:

Deb said...

How can anyone possibly call a faith journey in one of your books "tacked on"? Unconscionable.

Richard Mabry said...

Oh, but Deb, you get to read the finished product. In this case, she was right--it could be a lot smoother. But thanks for your nice words.