Saturday, February 28, 2015

To Rush Your Editor

Have you ever read a book that felt like all or part of it had been rushed? I have. There's a difference between ramping up the drama of things like a fight scene and a car chase, and simply rushing through a scene, skimming over the details with only the ending in sight and no care given to the journey to get there.

But there's another rushing you should really avoid, and that is trying to rush your editor. I know how anxious you can get when you've finally written those final words - The End - and then you ship your baby off to the editor. Some marketing strategies aim for certain holidays in the hopes to catch those shopping for Christmas or Valentine's Day because the content of the book is relevant. But if that is the issue, it would be better to hold off till the next year than to rush your editor.

I recently took a job where publication was aimed for Valentine's day. The writer told me that from the beginning. She was aiming to be done with the first draft by the end of January. Knowing that it can take 3 or 4 days to see a paperback up on Amazon, that didn't give me much time. I did try. she was asking for chapters almost every day. It was a good thing she had another reader to go through it, and with screen shots, things I'd were pointed out to her.

Me, I'm a stickler for picky so I was utterly mortified at the list - crazy little things like missing words and extra words left over from sentence adjustments. Now I will admit that there were a couple there I might have missed no matter what. Those annoying words that look very similar and are even pronounced alike but with a slight spelling variance making it mean something entirely different. I'm not perfect.

Anyway, she sent the document back to me, even offering to pay me for a second round, but I won't take pay for a document I've already been paid for. Now six months after the fact might be a different issue.

At any rate, I have a wonderful trick I discovered way back when I had my first computer. Back then - seven years ago now - my PC would read a pdf if you told it to. On a later computer, I could tell my computer to read whatever text I selected. I'm sorry, I don't have a PC anymore and I don't remember how I did it then. There should be a text to speech option for selected text. On my MAC I had to set up a key command, and if you're a computer whiz you can figure out how to do that too. I had to be talked through it by a tech over the phone. I'm sure, even with a PC, you can call up someone who can help you too. I'm having my computer read this document and I've found much more than just those caught by her other reader.

I encourage you to try it out. You'd be surprised the little things this trick will help you find. For me, other than those annoying words that look so close to something that should belong in that sentence, this helps me with coma placement and sentence rhythm. It's a rhythm that the brain puts in there most of the time, but with a little literary help, the end result is less work for the reader, affording them more enjoyment in the content of the story. Try it - you'll like it - I'm sure of it.


1 comment:

William Kendall said...

That is much too rushed- getting the job done right means taking time and being careful about it, not an arbitrary date so close to after the first draft was done.