This being Valentine’s Day, I’d like to explain a relationship many people don’t understand – the relationship between an author and an editor.
So . . . I thought I’d share a few snapshots of my editor’s notes on our big project, Terrebonne Parish. You wouldn’t believe them without a visual aid, so I knew I needed to include a picture or two.
Months ago, I gave her the first ten chapters of the book and I swear there’s not a single page without her beautiful purple ink marks on it. I say “beautiful purple ink” with affection, because it’s only the bright color of her ink that keeps my spirits bright as I diligently go through one page at a time . . . one paragraph at a time . . . one sentence at a time, making the appropriate changes.
Many of the marks are typical changes, like misspelled words or forgotten commas; but just as many of the notes are questions and comments.
In addition to the handwritten notes on the pages, she also gave me hand-typed notes with further comments, questions and clarification requests.
I’m not complaining. In fact, quite the opposite; I appreciate that she cares about my book as much as I do. She cares enough to remind me that you, the reader, can’t climb into my deep, dark vault head and see what I see, so I have to explain.
For example, I told you Isaac’s medium brown hair brushes his eyelids when he blinks. I thought that was enough. But my editor reminds me that you don’t know in the summer, when the sun kisses Isaac’s hair, the brown turns to hues of blondes and copper.
And I told you Jeremiah’s hands are rough and callused to the touch. I thought that was enough. But my editor reminds me you don’t know Jeremiah’s hands are rough and callused because of the years he spent threshing wheat and chopping wood for the main house.
My editor does more than change an “effect” to an “affect.” She does more than replace a comma with a semicolon. She elaborates my story. She helps me tell the parts I forgot I haven’t told. She’s such a big part of this process!
If she were editing this now, she may even fix another mistake I’ve been making throughout this blog, so let’s address it now: I keep calling her my editor, but she’s not my editor; she doesn’t belong to me.
She’s an editor. A very talented one.
She has an eye for spotting grammatical errors and typos, but more importantly she has a gift for making sure my words are accurate and precise, and that they bring you into my imaginative world so you can be right there beside me – not looking in from outside the pages.
I’ve told you before not to get discouraged if you go through several editors before finding one you mesh with. I’ve told you before that sometimes you find a great editor that you do mesh with, but the editor’s workload is too great, so you have to find another one.
I’ve told you before my current editor is not my first editor . . .
but I really like this one . . .
and I hope she’ll be my last.
Happy Valentine’s Day, Cordia Lucas . . . my love.