Happy to receive a message from Bertie MacAvoy in the wee hours today. She got the SHIMMER version with Developmental Editing revisions that I sent to her last night. Yay!
She hasn’t opened it yet. I’m not quite in the clear. But probably okay.
Awnna Evans, our Wordfire Press editor, was such an invested and thorough reader! She sent us very useful editing notes. Bertie did the heavy lifting on these revisions, while I was enveloped in Big Life Things. I did my turn at editing thankfully, falling back into the story as a small respite from the outer world. And perhaps as a way of processing, understanding, and finding ways to deal with the larger situations surrounding life right now.
We’re so very careful at this stage, nearing completion, passing the “Master Document” back and forth. Versions are SO IMPORTANT. The book shifts, changes form under our hands. And words matter to us. So very much. Word choices are examined, talked about, chosen or discarded: little things that a reader will likely never notice, but which carry nuance to subtly influence a scene. If you’re not a writer, and wonder how this works, here’s an example: in the sentence above, I originally wrote “choices are looked at.” But “examined” is so much more accurate to the actual process. And then I wonder if I should drop the passive voice, and say “we examine word choices” instead. But I want the sentence emphasis to be on WORD CHOICE, not on the writers. So I leave it in the passive form.
And this is in a blog post. Without Bertie’s opinion to counter. So you can imagine how complex editing an entire BOOK is.
(Not everybody edits like this. Robert Heinlein would be rolling his eyes. Fortunately, I don’t require his good opinion. And he’s in no position to voice an opinion on Shimmer anyway.)
Love and care go into these changes. It’s quite upsetting to discover that your work has been done on an old version, and has to be re-done! Neither Bertie nor I have so much time and energy at hand that we care to waste it. So we are very careful with our versions.
We are nearing the final version of Shimmer. Line edits yet to do. I’m so ready to release this book!
*Note to aspiring writers: this fine-tuning is coming during the pre-publication editing process, at the behest of the editor. If you edit your document like this, to publication standard, on your own before submitting it? You may never actually finish your book. Beware falling into the trap of perpetually re-writing before getting outside input. Those fresh eyes are important, as much for telling you when to stop as for anything else. Kevin J. Anderson over at WordFire Press has some useful thoughts on this.