Guys. GUYS. I’m in love. Let me tell you about it.
As you know, I’ve been posting installments of my flop, Westward to Strange. It’s a YA mystery/fantasy/Idon’tknowwhat. Think ‘nothing meets nothing’, which is exactly how I pitched it to people, which is why we’re hosting SF:SE now. Because I don’t want you to fuck up like I did.
So anyway, I asked Rebecca Heyman of Rebecca Faith Editorial if she’d edit the crap out of an installment, because I want you to see what it’s like to have your stuff professionally edited. And, true to magnanimous form, she did it. AWESOMELY.
To work with a true professional is a thing of magic. Rebecca’s understanding and appreciation for your artistic effort is staggeringly blatant. She takes what she does very seriously, and she very seriously wants your book to be great. Here’s a peek at what she sent me:
Whenever we have a first-person narrator, repetition of personal pronouns can seem particularly grating. ‘I shrugged…I turned…I checked…I kicked” open sentences extremely close to one another, which creates a kind of redundancy that can make prose feel congested and dull. Here, “Firelight glinted off something near Sarah’s shoulder” has as much utility as the current iteration but eliminates the pronoun phrase.
You see? She doesn’t just cross out and replace. She explains why she’s done it, teaches you how to do it in the future; she exfoliates your manuscript, leaving your voice clean and intact.
HERE’s the installment, if you want to see the original.
What Rebecca said about it:
Ray’s bravery in sharing her work for public critique is an absolute gift for someone like me, a freelance developmental editor. Because I’ll be meeting with authors one-on-one at the conference, and because working with an editor is extremely personal, it’s helpful for everyone if you know what my version of “editing” looks like. Ray’s work is extremely clean, meaning it’s largely free of grammatical and mechanical errors, and story elements such as voice, setting, tone and dialogue authenticity are already on point. If Ray were my client, I would recommend a copyedit for her (sometimes called substantive editing); we would focus on language, structure and continuity more than big-picture elements like plot development and characterization (we might address those in a content or developmental edit).
One of my favorite parts of a copyedit is digging deep into language. We have a chance to look at various shades of meaning, as well as the way grammar and mechanics support your storytelling (because news flash, friends: meaning and mechanics are inseparable). The authors I work with are interested in craft—the how of writing—and a copyedit is a wonderful opportunity to dig into choices about diction and sentence structure, which are the foundations of tone, voice, mood, and that elusive beast, style.
I’m happy to answer questions about these edits in the comments section of this post, and I’ll be even happier to talk to you about your manuscript at SFSE: 2015 in September! Sign up for a one-on-one with me by clicking here (subject: REBECCA FAITH), and look for my sessions on writing a powerful query letter and working with an editor once the conference schedule is released.
Please, everyone check out the full edit here:
Come to Rebecca’s workshop, and for the love of Cthulhu, have your shit edited. If not at the con, then somewhere. But make damn sure your freelancer will take care of you like Rebecca will.