I got "Here Be Monsters" back from my editor a couple of days ago, and have been walking through the corridors of my mind and words, slightly altered by another person since then...it's a bizarre feeling. They've done a superb job editing the novel, but this very personal creation of mine is no longer solely the work of my brain and fingers, which takes a bit of getting used to; thank goodness for my having a reasonably well-developed ego.
I've been reading through the book for the "who-knows-how many-th" time, only in this instance I'm looking for highlighted word or phrases or sections in which the editor suggests changes to my work. Microsoft Word makes this possible, and it is a great way to work with someone on a text. I can (and do, in fact) take most of their suggestions by simply hitting a button to accept the track changes. By the same token, however, I can reject those few suggestions that aren't in keeping with my vision of the novel for whatever reason. It's so much easier than dealing with red pen on printed paper, and allows writer and editor to interact without having to find common time to edit the work.
Another thing I'm finding out about the process (and perhaps everyone else already knows this), is the utility of sidebar notes left by my editor. After her first read of my rough draft, we had a face-to-face conference to discuss the story, looking at discontinuities or underdeveloped characters or scenes or unfair assumptions that I made about reader conclusions. I took a list of issues away from that meeting, and worked through them in my second draft, before giving it back my editor for a detail-level read. Thankfully, I had worked through most of the issues discussed in our earlier meeting, but she still generated a number of questions/issues about the novel; this time embedded in "note" format alongside the relevant section for me to look at as I went through, looking at the track changes.
In the first round of fixes, I addressed issues in whatever order I felt like. This time, in what I consider to be a final read-through, I'm working my way from the first page to the end of the book, dealing with each issue as it comes into view, along with the track changes. It's an interesting process...I'm learning a lot about my book, my editor, and myself.
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