Well, the deed is done! To Flee a King has been released—the ebook is out now, and the print book is currently being reviewed by Amazon, and should be out in the next few days. And in case you’re wondering about the map above, it shows the journey of Kemharak in book3. I won’t say any more to avoid spoilers.
It’s been a LONG effort, and took even longer than I thought because I’d forgotten about the back and forth with the editor, who needs to see it again after I’ve made any last minute edits of my own. Now, this is a good thing, as she’s proofreading everything and making sure it’s as pristine as it can possibly be. But it does take time. With this, I’m 7 days past my promised data of March 1, but I hope the fans who’ve been waiting for this won’t begrudge me this last delay.
Which brings me to my writing topic for the day (or week or month, or however long it takes me between blogs): How do you know which edits to accept from an editor, and which to reject? Obviously any advice I give here is my own, because there is no one right answer. But using the right filter will ensure that the book is as tightly written as possible. So here’s my advice: For one, get a good editor, one you trust. If you don’t have one of those yet, go with recommendations, like I’m giving below. I did get a very good editor, I’m very pleased with the final outcome, and will recommend her at the bottom of this blog post.
Then, once you have someone you trust, you can start with this assumption: Everything she/he says is right. Which is not to say that you accept every change, but you start off with the assumption that the change is correct, and then require yourself to prove why it doesn’t work in this particular case. And in the process, if you do it right, you’ll uncover some weaknesses in your own writing that you can improve.
In my scenario, I can honestly say that I accepted 99% of the editing related to punctuation, because I know that’s my weak spot. I probably accepted 80% of the suggested changes regarding paragraph breaking, etc. And where my editor really nailed it is in identifying my weak spots, and forcing me to look at them in a new light. My weak spots are that I tend to use certain phrases repetitively, and also that I use compound sentences strung together by joiner words—though, but, and, etc. It’s not eggregious, but in moments of high action, those joiner sentences can slow down the pace (a Bad thing). By pointing those out, my editor did an invaluable service to the book, because it forced me to look at every single instance and decide whether each one was needed or not. In many, many cases, breaking these into multiple sentences made the text read better—particularly in battles or moments of furious action. In other cases, it resulted in short, stacatto text that didn’t sound right to my ear. But the majority of the tiime, I could see the book getting tighter before my eyes as I accepted each change, and that was really satisfying.
So what’s my method? As I said above, I started with the assumption that the comment was correct. I accepted the change, saw how it read. Then if I liked it well enough to keep temporarily (which was most of them), I left it alone and finished all the other changes in the chapter. Then I went back and re-read the chapter again with all the accepted changes to make sure everything still flows. Overall, I probably accepted 70% of the compound break-apart suggestions, and my book is much better for it.
So the takeaway is to get an editor if you can, and then trust them until they give you good reason not to. In my case, that trust was definitely well-placed.
My editor is Starr Waddell, head of Quiethouse Editing. Their website is: http://www.quiethouseediting.com/editing. Highly recommended.
Till next time!