Today I’ll share a few tidbits from the editing process of my first novel With Good Behavior. As a newbie author, I had no idea what to expect, but now I can firmly say I LOVE getting my books professionally edited! The process improved my novels so much.
Omnific Publishing has three levels of editing:
1. Developmental Editor Jessica Royer Ocken first went through chapter by chapter, deleting non-essential paragraphs and making the words flow. This detailed edit took the bulk of the time. I’ll return to her brilliance later.
2. Managing Editor Cindy Campbell looked over the manuscript as a whole, detecting inconsistencies and shaping it up. She made it purty!
3. Copy Editor CJ Creel polished the manuscript. Apparently I enjoy conjuring up legal aspects of my novels without considering their plausibility but luckily CJ’s also an attorney, saving me from making Sophie’s arrest totally unrealistic.
All three of these ladies are amazing at what they do. I spent the most time with Jessica, and I’m so grateful we’re almost always on the same page. With Good Behavior started off at *coughs* 176,000 words *coughs*…yikes! I asked Jessica to help me cut it down and we managed to lop off 35K words, avoiding a Diana Gabaldon Outlander-length book.
Here’s an example of a few sentences we deleted from chapter 14, when Sophie takes drunk Grant home for the night. The deleted sentences are in blue.
For a moment both Sophie and Grant considered how much they would enjoy cuddling up to the other, but both dismissed that idea quickly—for so many reasons.
Kirsten had told Sophie that she should be cautious entangling herself with yet another criminal. And Grant was hesitant as well. Not only was he too soused to see straight, much less make a credible pass at a beautiful woman, but trust didn’t come easily to him either. His family had beaten the trust out of him.
Jessica told me that information in blue was redundant with earlier text, which was difficult for me to see as the author. Those blind spots are exactly why having a good editor is so important.
I agreed with Jessica’s edits about 99% of the time, but on one occasion I wanted to keep something she suggested deleting — the “sexy vegetables” conversation Grant and Sophie had with their boss Roger. Some of you may have noticed my slideshow of sexy veggies on the lower right of this blog and thought “WTF?” I hope this little excerpt might help explain the craziness better, but it probably will remain a head-scratcher until you read the book.
Roger’s in the hospital and Jodi the dietitian has visited his room, encouraging him to eat heart-healthy foods.
Jodi explained, “Hardening of the arteries is also related to your diet. Do you know which foods should be eaten only sparingly because they aren’t heart healthy?”
Roger had a good idea but he was too pissed off by his current predicament to answer.
“Deep dish pizza?” Grant offered, and Roger shot him the stare of death.
“Yes!” Jodi replied. “Cheese, red meat, fried foods, cream sauces…”
“All my favorites,” Roger cried mournfully.
“I’m not saying you can never eat those foods again, Mr. Eaton. You just need to add in more heart-healthy foods, like this vegetable here.” She held up the stalk of broccoli, and Roger eyed it with disdain. “I’d like you to meet my friend here, Ms. Vegetable.” She placed the green plastic blob on the top of the cart and began lining other colorful pieces of plastic vegetables next to it.
“Rog and vegetables don’t get along too well,” Grant explained. “They have a hate-hate relationship.”
“Aw,” Jodi replied, petting the broccoli, “That hurts broccoli’s feelings when you say mean things about her like that.”
Roger gawked at the dietitian, dumbfounded by her insanity, and began to suspect the three people around him were having fun at his expense.
“Yeah, she’s really good to your body, Rog.” Sophie jumped into the fray. “Ms. Vegetable lurves you.”
“Aren’t those vegetables sexy?” Grant cooed, trying to hold in laughter. “Sexy, sexy veggies. You two need to go out on lots of dates together.”
“That’s it you two. Get out!” Roger ordered.
“You want us to leave, sir?” Grant asked innocently.
“He and Ms. Broccoli need some time alone.” Sophie winked, taking hold of Grant’s arm.
Ah, Rog. He is a character.
I hope you enjoyed this little foray into editing. Authors, what was your editing experience like? Readers, what questions do you have about editing?
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