Yes, being a writer does seem to feel like that much of the time. One story or another is always rolling around in my head.
I’m currently working on line edits for my November release (first book in a three book series). I’ve shared before about the different editing steps that most publishing houses follow (and which I recommend those who indie publish follow when hiring an editor). But here is a quick recap:
- Revisions: A big picture look at the manuscript where big chunks and small chunks are added or removed.
- Line edits: A closer look (line by line, thus the name), catching things that escaped notice or weren’t quite perfected in the revision phase.
- Copy edits: A very close look, focused more on catching typos and fixing grammar and making sure facts and dates are correct (i.e. the heroine’s eyes aren’t blue at the start of the book and change to brown somewhere in the middle).
- Page proofs/typeset galleys: The last chance for the author to see the book before it goes to press.
Note: At many houses today, the copy edits and page proofs are combined into one step.
One of the best inventions for writers once the revising and editing phases are reached is the Track Changes tool found in Word. I will never forget the first time I got to revise and edit using Track Changes. The book was The Forgiving Hour, and the publisher was WaterBrook Press. Prior to that, all of my editing with former publishers had been done on hard copies. A very laborious process, I assure you.
At that time I used WordPerfect for my word processing software on my PC (yes, it is true; I haven’t always been a lover of all things Mac), so I was a bit concerned as I opened Word and got to work. But it didn’t take long for me to become a fan of Track Changes, and I wondered why so many publishing houses and editors waited so long to convert to this way of doing things.
These days I write in Scrivener, the best software for novelists IMHO. But once a book enters the editing phase, I keep my manuscripts in Word rather than switching back and forth. I just find it easier. And there is enough to think about while editing without converting from one program to another.
Sometimes, when I’m feeling overwhelmed by a book and the process of making it into the best book it can be, I think of Jane Austen or Louisa May Alcott, writing by candle or lamplight, using pens and ink that left their fingers blackened. How did they revise and edit? I wonder.
What a fortunate writer I am as I sit here at my iMac, several programs open on my screen, non-flickering light bulbs illuminating my work area. Very fortunate, indeed. Even if it is like having homework every night for the rest of my life.