Sunday, June 20, 2010

What do Edits Look Like, Anyway?

A few writing pals have asked me what my edits look like, or what they entail. Since I just got round two in the mail, I thought I'd share.

Now, I assume every editor works differently (much like every writer does) so I can only share my personal experience here.

First, there is the editorial letter. My first one was 3 pages long, this second is 2. Broad concepts and issues are discussed in the letter. One example is the time line that I made some errors on and she wants me to address.

Second are the notes on the manuscript itself. Words crossed out or questions jotted down. I always thought these would be in glaring red ink. You know, like blood. But, mine are just in pencil and not at all murderous :D

Third are these clever little post it notes that she affixes to the side with longer questions or explanations of her manuscript notation. They are like little coaching booklets.

Together, it looks like this:


Not every page has this much notation on it. Several pages don't have any editorial notes at all.

Tune in later this week when I will share what some of her actual suggestions are and what I am learning through this process. Right now, I've got to get to work! You do too! What are you working on this week? A certain scene, or just a summer tan?


Amanda J. said...

That looks incredibly intriguing. And I'm glad it's not in red, pencil is so much easier on the eyes!

I'm trying to get some reading done; studying Spanish so I don't look like an idiot when my class starts; cleaning on the house, yay!; and trying to finish my current MS. Lots to do. Why does summer break no longer seem like an actual break? O.o

Oh well. Hope you're enjoying your weekend! :)

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Wow, I love the new blog look. Bright and cheery. And thanks for the peek into the editorial process. Hope your weekend has been great.

Jayne said...

I always thought those edits would be in blood red ink as well! Thanks for sharing this process, very interesting! I'm working on my query letter this week. Eek!

TerryLynnJohnson said...

really like the colours and new design! Interesting to see what other writer's edits look like. Most have been hard copy with scribbles. All mine were done on line with track changes. They went very fast that way!

Kathryn said...

Oooooo, I LOVE it!!!! There's something about having physical sheets to edit and go over... :D

Alissa said...

Mine all came via email with the notes made in the word document itself. I was glad that I didn't have to see any glaring red ink. I was really worried as I waited for the day the email would arrive, but it turned out to be far less painful than I thought.

storyqueen said...

I am working on revising with an editorial letter, too!
I am hopeful to finish in a few days....I just have to dive in and stay there.


ali said...

I love the "coaching booklet". What a happy image that brings to mind and probably the TOTAL right attitude to have to all this work. Good for you Tess!

And it was really cool to see you and sit with you last week. You have the most beautiful eyes that shine when you smile. ♥

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I am so surprised that your edits came on a hard copy!!! Was the first round on a hard copy too?

I look forward to hearing what you learned.

Tess said...

Amanda: I so relate! Summer is hectic..good luck fitting it all in :)

Tricia: thanks...hope your weekend went well, too.

Jayne: queries. ugh. you can do it, though!

TerryLynn: interesting to was so helpful to me to have a hard copy so the idea of track changes is scary...but, I guess you learn with what you are given, right?

Kathryn: yes, I was so happy they came in hard copy form. My brain works better that way.

Alissa: oh, that's how our critique group works. it's good, too.

storyqueen: really? good luck, pal! I'm sure you will breeze through it.

Ali: you are so sweet. I have no complaints, though some parts of this process are challenging. We can do hard things, though, right? that's what I tell my kiddos.

Sharon: yes, the first round came hard copy as well. She sends the ms all notated and then I return it via an e mail attachment. I really do like it, to be honest. I have her copy in hand and my copy on the screen. It's easy to keep it all straight that way. hope the cabin is fun!

Caroline Starr Rose said...

Cool! My editor reads through with a red pen "like an old-timey editor", she says. Then she converts these notes into the ms. via track changes.

I love to see how others work. I'm in the middle of first rounds. So good to have others out there a few months ahead of me, blazing the trail! Hope we get to talk on a historical fiction panel someday. :)

Janna Qualman said...

It's a very cool peek. Thanks, Tess! I hope it's going well for you.

I'm working on a tan, sure. As much as a pasty thing like me can. ;) But also working on substantive edits for my whole ms. I want to query agents this fall!

lotusgirl said...

This is cool to see. I'm looking forward to seeing what more you have to say about this process.

Mary Campbell said...

Love the new blog look. Thanks for sharing your edits. They don't look too painful. No more painful than crits from our critique groups right?

Carolyn V. said...

Revisions (still) and rewrites (I hate those). =) Good luck on your edits Tess! =D

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your edits. It's great to learn about the process. And, your blog looks great.

I have one book on submission. Another in my agent's to-be-read-pile, so I've started writing another novel.

And, I'm giving away some award winning YA novels on my blog this week!

Mary Aalgaard said...

Thanks for sharing that. How exciting. I'm working on a scene in Act 2, and planning for a trip.

Tabitha Bird said...

Man, that is cool! I would love someone to do that for me. Right now I need a professional set of eyes. Sigh. :)

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

The sticky note "coaching booklets" are great! My experiences with the revision process have been much the same as yours, minus the Post Its. I love this part of the ride and hope that you are, too!

Jill Kemerer said...

You shouldn't tease me with those pictures. I'm soooo snoopy! Of course I want to know the editorial suggestions!
Right now, I'm working on a final polish to my WIP. I'm weaving in suggestions by critique partners, and it's going really well.

Tess said...

Caroline: a historical panel would be such fun .. and, I love to snoop, er, see how others work too.

Janna: this fall? woot!

lotusgirl: learning lots and lots, but having a little fun too, which is nice.

Mary C: you're right..not too different from CP's except you can't say to yourself "whatever" like we all know we do w/ CP's sometimes ;)

Paul: wow, you've got a lot going on!

Mary A: really? a trip where?

Tabitha: I've considered that as well...a professional edit, I mean. I think there can be a lot of value in that. I know someone if you are really interested I can pass along the info...

Cynthia: I am surprised at how much I'm enjoying this part. It's challenging, but amazing to see your ms get shaped and molded.

Jill: sounds like you've got good CP's w/ good suggestions...that's always so helpful. good luck w/ the work :)

Davin Malasarn said...

LOL, I'm not at all surprised by what this looks like, and yet I find it very fascinating to actually see it! Thanks for posting this, Tess. I have a feeling with your writing that many of the pages didn't have comments on them.

Martin Willoughby said...

Now I know what to expect. Thanks.

Jackee said...

Thanks for the insight, Tess! And I smiled when I saw your hand in a sweater in June. Crazy weather we're having here out West! :o)

I'm working on finishing the last few scenes of my WIP rough draft. One of my favorite places to be when writing.

Amy Holder said...

Mine looked a lot like yours. I've been thinking of doing a similar blog post. I always love seeing the steps authors go through on their way to publication. And now that I'm going through those same steps, it's fun to compare journeys. Thanks for sharing your editorial process.

I love your new blog background!

Amy Saia said...

For some reason, I like to see it all planned out like that. It says that things are on track, you'll get the edits done and have a very polished book. Thanks for sharing this!

Tess said...

Davin: so good to have you back floating around the bloggosphere .. you were missed! and, you're wrong. very very few pages had no writing on them...but I'm not complaining. I'm learning!

Martin: sure thing. doing any summer theater over there?

Jackee: oh yes, finishing that first draft is always an exhilarating feeling. work on!

Amy H: I would love to see a post like that. I think we're all voyeuristic by nature and nothing interests me like a peek into the process.

Amy S: I think they are on track, thanks. And, I know you have a lot going on over at your place, too!