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Monday, January 10, 2011

I Love Editing

I should make that my bumper sticker. I know it's not a favorite pastime of a lot of writers, but it's one I personally adore because it teaches me so much.

There's editing the draft, that version your CPs carve into little pieces for you to cobble back together with spit and shoelaces. And then there's the polished draft where you wait like a death row inmate while your editor decides how much trouble you're going to be.

I won't kid you. I've been very lucky when it comes to editors. The first ones were absolute sweethearts for being so patient with me, and even more gracious when they took the time to answer my syntax questions. (I always have to understand why a sentence is parsed a certain way.) But the fun stuff is when we discuss story.

The improvements my editor asks me to make drives me giddy with expectation. Things like: Tell me what's in the room. Give me more tension here. Or my perennial favorite: Shut off the waterworks (for when the heroine brims with tears for the nth time). Oy!

Some editors can be brusque with their instructions. But I never take it personally. This is their job. They must look at hundreds of stories and they're not there to hold your hand. When my editor says add tension *here*, I snap to it like it was an imperial mandate.

I trust my editor and I trust her instincts. She makes me look better. But the icing on the cake is that every time I work with an editor I learn something new about writing a better story. I love that!

There are many things I dislike about publishing. But editing isn't one of them. It's like getting a second chance to score in the big game.

Why am I talking about editing today? Because I just finished edits for Apocalypse Rising. Huzzah! It won't be long now.

I'm feeling more human today. Greg came up to check on me over the weekend and I'm glad he did. Canada decided to pay us a visit and dropped an arctic blast on us. We have snow! I know--it's not a big deal to most of you, but snow is kind of a novelty down here. 

Greg blew out all the water lines (to prevent them from freezing) then went out and loaded the chicken feeder to the brim so I wouldn't have to go out there so much. He took good care of me while he was here. But now he's gone again.

I've been lax visiting some of you because of this flu, but I should be back on my game this week.

What's new? What are you writing or reading?

I started the new Tracy Anne Warren books and I'm enjoying them very much. I will definitely read more of her work.


Mike Keyton said...

You only appreciate good health when it returns. Glad you're feeling better

Jennifer Shirk said...

Flu? I'm sorry! I hope you feel better.

I have to say that I LOVE editing too. It's my favortie part. It's the actual "putting those first words on the page" that is a killer.

Maria Zannini said...

Mike: This flu hit me so fast. I never so it coming and I'm always so careful about washing my hands.

I wonder if it had anything to do with living five days like a cavewoman.

Maria Zannini said...

Jennifer: My problem with writing has nothing to do with beginning, middle or end.

My problem is fleshing. Most every book ends out as 50,000 words before editing. It always looks finished to me, but when my CPs look at it, they tell me: Add more here, dummy.

--Well, they don't actually say, dummy. But I can hear it in their crit. LOL

Dru said...

I'm heard about that snow you guys got.

Glad to hear that you're feeling a little better.

Right now I'm reading "Home For A Spell" by Madelyn Alt and "Thieves!" by Hannah Dennison.

Gemma Noon said...

So sorry to hear you have 'flu hun, don't push yourself too hard while recovering.

I'm glad someone else tends to write short on their first draft - I find it a lot easier to flesh out afterwards than slowing dowm my pace - I get too excited about finishing the story!

Anyway, take care of you x

Ellie said...

I'm glad you are starting to feeling better, and snow where we are is also a big deal!

It's fascinating reading about your relationship with your editor. At the moment I've only submitted to small press publications, but when they've sent me proofs to check, I've carefully noted any changes they've made - it's like getting professional advice for free!

Joanne said...

I like editing too. Seeing the story done, as a whole, gives me the chance to go back in with a revision and really layer it in the right places.

Right now I'm reading Saddled, a memoir about how the author's horse really turned her life around and saved her from her own destruction.

Mason Canyon said...

Hope you're feeling much better. The cold and the snow is bad enough without being sick. We got a visit from the snow fairy last night too. I haven't measured yet but it looks as through it's 6 to 8 inches. It won't be too bad as long as we don't get a lot of the predicted freezing rain on top of it today. Take care and happy reading. Congratulations on finishing the edits for Apocalypse Rising.

Thoughts in Progress

Angelina Rain said...

It sounds like you’re feeling better, Maria. That’s good to hear. It’s nice that your hubby came back for you. I love editing with an editor, too. My editor at Evernight Publishing turned by short story from a choppy mess into a flowing masterpiece. I learned so much from it that now I’m editing my current WIP to make it sound better.

I’m currently reading "True Believers" (I wonder who wrote it, haha). It’s the first sci-fi book I’ve ever read, but not the last. I really like it. I also just finished reading “Rawhide and Roses” by Maddie James and that was a pretty good book. As of last month, I review at “Happily Ever After Reviews” so that gives me a great opportunity to experience new authors.

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

Yay for finishing edits! And i'm glad you're starting to feel better. Huzzah indeed!

Maria Zannini said...

Dru: I've been hearing good things about "Home For A Spell". I'll look forward to your review when you've finished it.

Maria Zannini said...

Gemma: I am legend for writing short, to the point books. LOL. I think it comes from my nonfic days.

It's a little like dressing a Christmas tree. You just keep going over it until it's shiny. :)

Maria Zannini said...

Ellie: Between you and me, it feels like stealing. LOL. I get so much out of their feedback. But then it's in every one's best interest, isn't it. The better the book, the more it sells. (in a perfect world)

Joanne: I hope you'll post a review of Saddled when you're finished. I love books with animals.

Mason: Ref: visit from the snow fairy--LOL. I love that. It does look like a fairyland around here.

Rula Sinara said...

Glad you're starting to feel better! I love editing too, but trying to focus on anything when you're sick is tough.

Maria Zannini said...

Ref: I’m currently reading "True Believers" (I wonder who wrote it, haha).

:grin: I dunno. But I hope that author doesn't let you down.

How cool that you're reviewing for HEA! I'll go look them up.


Sarah: I think recovered a little faster than normal considering it was the flu. It was probably because of all my clean living. :eye roll: LOL.

Thanks, Sarah.

Maria Zannini said...

Rula: That was really hard to edit while I was sick. My editor was very patient though. I know a couple of my errors were directly due to being so wooly headed and under the influence of Nyquil.

But I feel so much better today. I have to go off and see what you guys have been up to.

Linda Leszczuk said...

So glad you're feeling better and congratulations on having the editing done on Apocalypse Rising. Based on how much I enjoyed Touch of Fire and True Believers, I can't wait to read this one.

I'm not so crazy about editing myself but I guess that's because I'm still in the "doing it on my own" phase. I'm sure it will be different when I have all that great editor input to work with. Someday...

Maria Zannini said...

Linda: Regardless of whether it comes from a CP or a pro editor, it's the stuff you learn from the analysis that excites me. It's liberating--and a little scary.

Cathy in AK said...

Last summer's R&R letter from Carina was the first time I'd been exposed a real editor's notes/suggestions for my work. What an experience! She turned editing, a task I normally do with mixed emotions, into something I actually looked forward to. OK, the opportunity to resub probably had a lot to do with that : ) But her notes were so on target they made it enjoyable.

Like you, I tend to write short and more or less rely upon my fab crit partners to help me sort out where things should be expanded. Without adding fluff!

As for what's happening here in the frozen but snowless north (we recently had a bout of rain that melted much of what was on the ground), I recently finished a ms and will start on edits soon. Also mulling the plot of the next book.

Glad you're feeling better!

Maria Zannini said...

Cathy: Do you think the poles shifted on us. You're in Alaska and dry, and I'm in Texas under five inches of snow.

Ref: editing
They do make it enjoyable, don't they? I really look forward to it.

Kit Courteney said...

Are you nuts?!

That's all I'm saying.

Well, that and hope you feel better soon :)

Maria Zannini said...


Cathy in AK said...

RE: shifting poles--it does happen, so who knows : ) We're usually wetter and warmer here (boy, that sounds a little dirty), so this clear and cold stuff is appreciated. I'm sure we'll get dumped on at some point. The season is young yet.

Editing-I didn't think I'd enjoy it as much as I did, but having a boffo editor helps. My crit partners are key in getting the ms ready, however, so they deserve a lot of credit.

Marianne Arkins said...


The irony of that? I used to edit for a publishing house... lol...

If I could finish a draft and give it to my evil twin to edit, I'd be great with that. Yeah, I learn every time I do edits. Yeah, I grow. I get better. Blah blah.

I still hate editing.

And -- send us some snow, please. My DH is VERY cranky at not being able to go snowmobiling and I don't like a cranky DH.

Glad you're feeling a little better. :-)

Maria Zannini said...


Ref: We're usually wetter and warmer here (boy, that sounds a little dirty)

Why, yes. Yes it does. LOL. Where is your husband right now, Cathy? I have a feeling he better stick close to home. :)

Maria Zannini said...


Ref: The irony of that? I used to edit for a publishing house...

You gotta wonder if that has anything to do with it.

I'll see what I can do about the snow. It's pretty, but we're not equipped for it down here. The traffic accidents have been epic today.

Wendy Ramer said...

You have a great attitude about editing, definitely. Right now I'm reading a book in Spanish, Venganza en Sevilla, which I'm really enjoying, I must say.

Maria Zannini said...

Wendy: Attitude is everything in this business--that and the fact I was near death last week. LOL. Makes you appreciate everything more.

Blog about your book when you're done. I'd like to hear about it.

Sherri said...

Sounds like you're feeling a wee better. Glad your hubby made it home to give you a bit of TLC...always nice when you're sick.

Not actually reading anything at the moment :gasp:

I keep saying next up is Jordan Summers' Crimson but then I also want/need to start a re-read of Karen Marie Moning's Fever series so everything will be fresh in my mind when the final installment comes out on the 18th...

So many little time

Maria Zannini said...

Sherri: You'd think God would cut us some slack and give readers longer life times. :o)

Lynn Colt said...

Glad you're feeling a bit better!

Making you an "I love editing" bumper sticker (well, a virtual one, but I guess you could print it out and slap it on a car!) will be my next adventure in photoshopping :)

Congrats on finishing AR edits!

Jenny Schwartz said...

I love editing, too! Maybe it goes hand in hand with writing short on the first draft?

Glad you're feeling better, Maria.

Maria Zannini said...

Lynn: Maybe we should make that bumper sticker with a backwards 'e'. LOL.

Jenny: Whaddya think? We could be sisters under the skin. :grin:

Thanks for coming over guys!

Renee Miller said...

Glad you're feeling better. Editing makes me nauseous, but once I'm into it I can't seem to step away. I love the actual process, but I really have to force myself to begin.

And, uh...sorry about the snow. My arms ache from shoveling and honestly, it's so cold the boogers ran screaming back into my sinuses just stepping outside. Do you know how much frozen sinuses hurt? A lot. We had to send some of it somewhere.

Maria Zannini said...

Ref: snow
When you live in the north, you get used to it. Doesn't make it any better--but you get used to it.

I find I complain more about the cold now (living in Texas) than I ever did when I lived in Chicago.

Shelley Munro said...

I'm sorry to hear you haven't been feeling well, Maria. I hope you're on the mend.

I have to agree about editors. All of mine have taught me so much. I don't understand writers who fight the editing process.