Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Whack-a-mole editing

I got the manuscript done! Of course, right at the end, the worrywart part of my mind (which is actually a HUGE part of my mind) kicked in, and editing became whack-a-mole. You know what I mean, don't you?

Example: I was in the shower yesterday morning, feeling quite confident and good about the book, when this stray thought popped into this mess of chaos I call my brain: Wouldn't he have known she was a widow from her job application?

See? Simple little thing, right?

Oh, of course it wasn't. For one thing, I was in the shower. No computer in the shower (it's kind of bad for them). And I was in there because I was getting ready for work, and that's an uninterruptable process. So I had to wait until the afternoon to investigate.

So I asked a co-worker, who is a writer herself and understands odd manuscript questions, and she said, Sure. Then, Oh, maybe not.

She thought, and I thought, and together we put together a couple of brain cells, and then she said, That's one of those questions you're not supposed to ask--it's marital status.

Okay. Whew. But it led to another question: Wouldn't he have wondered, though? And Karlene looked up from her cross-stitch and said, Yup.

Now, bear in mind she had no idea what my story was about, but she understands whack-a-mole editing.

My heroine's marital status wasn't the mole: it was HIS knowledge of it. So, I had to whack that mole! And then all sorts of other little associated moles popped up, one in this chapter, one in that chapter, and I spent the evening doing whack-a-mole on that whole character line.

I was way over my word limit so I deleted an entire section, and you know what that meant. I had to play whack-a-mole on every piece of that thread leading up to and following it.

Whack. Whack. Whack.

Finally, I emailed the manuscript.

And then, just as I was falling asleep, guess what popped up. Yup, another mole. This one was: If you deleted that entire thread, then does this other thread have any support?

Well, oops. I'll email my editor and tell her I'm aware that on line edits I'll have to include some of that back in.

It goes like that in whack-a-mole editing. Luckily I have a team of editors to work with me who make me write the best book I am capable of. I can honestly say that by the time we're through, there is very little I'd change.

My book credits should read: By Janet, JoAnne, Rachel, and Margie...and a whole lot of moles.

4 comments:

Pattie said...

I love the analogy! and I'll remember it forever, since "Whack a Mole" is one of my favorite little games.

Kacie said...

Love it! I don't think I'll ever be able to let go of that visual during revisions again. :) So glad to hear you got it off on time, sweetie.

政儒 said...

財富並非永遠的朋友,但朋友卻是永遠的財富。 ............................................................

Linda Joy Singleton said...

Nice to see you here! So you're still in RWA? I'm on blogspot,too, although I post more on Facebook & LiveJournal. Congrats on your books!