Part ONE: The Editing Process (my critiques groups)
I am fortunate to have excellent editors helping me refine my books. The first editors offer informal feedback, the second editors are people I pay to work out the kinks. Both serve an important purpose. Let me introduce you to my critique groups first.
My informal editors are my two critique groups. The members of the groups are fellow writers who are willing to share their writings, their time and their advice on my writings. We meet at least once a month to critique each other’s work.
If truth be told, my first days attending the groups were wrought with fear: Will they like my work? Will they shred it ? Will they send me home with stars on the sections they liked? They sent me home with ALL these fears answered as well as with advice on how to make my work better/stronger. After a day of letting the pages rest and letting my disappointment that I hadn’t ‘blown their socks off’ with my amazing writing settle into my brain, I tackled their comments.
Each of us have individual processes for reading through group comments. I want to read their comments as soon as possible after we’ve met so I remember what was said as well as be able to decode what was written on my submitted pages. I pour a cup of tea, grab a clean copy and begin to mull over their comments. Most are valid criticisms and suggestions that I consider over the hour I sit evaluating my 4-5 pages. Finding a section where stars brighten the page is reassuring but it’s the suggestions that I focus on, knowing each person who read my pages, spent time analyzing and evaluating my work in hope of improving the end result.
Next, I sit down at the computer and make changes to my pages. I add a new date to the latest changes so I can keep track of when I wrote those changes and then I proceed to working on the next pages for that critique group.
When the book critiques are completed, beginning to the end, I let the pages rest about two weeks (I work on something else). Then I go back and reread my latest version, make changes and notify the formal editor that I’m ready to get started.
Next time I’ll share the formal editing process with you. Until then, feel free to send me questions about editing and anything else about writing.