Backache, Eyestrain, Tears…I’ve Been Busy!

It’s been a busy, crazy time around here, my friends, and I’m not sure where to start. For one thing, I cannot believe it’s been so long since I last posted here. Well, ok, yes I can.

The school year is nearly over. We’re all suffering from a horrible case of burnout and this last week and a half will probably be the hardest. It’s like that every year. Not surprising to learn that this is the time of year when most retirements are announced, as are most “I’m done with the lot of you and I’m out of here!” new job announcements. But with the end of the school year also comes the end of my writer’s group. I will say, that group, as obnoxious as they were at times, kept me going. They are a lively, talented, TALKATIVE, wonderful, AWESOME group of kids. I will miss the ones moving on, but I’m excited about the new group that will be coming next year. I think.

The manuscript…has been submitted. I know, I was going to put up a post about my experience during the submission phase, but to be honest, I was too busy trying to get there to make notes. My apologies, but I’ll try to sum things up for you:

ACK!

First of all, do your research! Read the fine print. There’s a lot of deceptive fine print that can trip your sorry self up and then shrug when you fall down. Like royalties. Hoo, baby! They may say they’ll give you a certain percentage of the sales, but what they don’t tell you right up front is they’re referring to the NET sales, not the asking price! Not kidding! Sorry.

There are free services out there, but you do get what you pay for, so beware. Many of them require special software you need to download and if your computer makes stinkface and refuses to cooperate, you’re out of luck unless you want to pay someone to do the conversion for you.

In the paid services department, watch out for the “free” folks who will grace you with all those tantalizing offers, then you look down and realize they have a minimum purchase requirement…FOR YOU! Your portion of that bill usually ends up in the thousands of dollars. A little too rich for my blood.

I ended up submitting the manuscript to a company that is highly rated and has been very good about answering my emails (even on a holiday weekend!). I’m hoping to know if it’s been accepted by Monday or Tuesday. Or Wednesday… They screen all incoming manuscripts for grievous spelling and grammatical errors, poor writing, and saleability. I’m hoping my manuscript passes muster.

As for the manuscript itself… what a circus ride that’s been. Editing until my brains were melting and the zombies left my yard. But I’m happy with it, at least as happy as I can be, because I could pick at that thing until it looks just like it did in the first draft.

I learned a lot about editing during that time:

1. I hate it, most of the time. The worst phases are the first and third edits. Why the odd ones? Because they require the most rewrites of passages I happen to like but do nothing for the story. It’s heartbreaking, frustrating, tear jerking, and quite satisfying when I’ve made it through.

2. There are certain stages I like more than others. The 2nd and 4th edits aren’t quite as bad, but I’ve found to make the fourth round easier, I must print it out. I must also remember to bring post-it notes with me, because I made a mess of a couple pages and I’m not sure my changes were what I had in mind at the time. Printing it out means I must REALLY read it carefully and make sure my changes fit in with the whole passage and not just a sentence or two. For me, editing on the computer gets messy because changes are “easy” and therefore get done when they shouldn’t. The gun is jumped and we get to start that phase over. I hate that.

3. I will get to a point where I love it and want to be editing all the time. Yes, it’s true. By the time the 4th edit rolled around, I wouldn’t go ANYWHERE without my manuscript and pen. If I had fifteen minutes, I was sitting and editing. There weren’t many changes by that time, just nit-picking, “does this sound better?”, clarify who said what, etc. Entering that last go around is the easiest on the computer.

4. Edit backwards. No, wait, make your hardcopy notes forwards, but when you’re putting it all in the computer, go from back to front. It may not help make the changes easier, but it is easier to find where in the document those changes need to go. If you start from page one, by the time you’re on page 91, things may have shifted and finding the location of those little changes can be a royal pain in the arse.

Those are my suggestions and I’m sure I’ll think of more as I wander through my day. I hope you have a lovely writing day and I’ll let you know what happens next.

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About Ms. Karen

This is what happens when you live with a writer: there are pens everywhere, except by the phone; notebooks...so many notebooks with strange scribblings that make no sense but must never be thrown away; and long rambling monologues about what certain characters would, or would not do in a given situation. It's almost as difficult as living with an artist. Man, THOSE people are bizarre...
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One Response to Backache, Eyestrain, Tears…I’ve Been Busy!

  1. Selma says:

    I think this is why I have a pile of unedited novels in my filing cabinet – I hate editing with a passion. Why can’t they invent some kind of robot that can do the editing for us? That would be the invention of the century.

    I am so pleased for you, Karen. You have inspired me. I have my fingers crossed that the publisher will give you some good news *holding my breath*

    Like

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