E40 – Do’s And Don’ts With Your Edits

Show Notes

In this episode, Miss Catherine M.H. and V.E. Griffith discuss the do’s and don’ts of getting your edits back from your editor.

The Revision Wizards are at https://www.revisionwizards.com
V.E. Griffith’s website: https://www.vegriffith.com
Miss Catherine M.H.’s website: https://www.scribes-pen.com

Transcript at: https://revisionwizards.com/?p=2409


[Miss Catherine M.H.] (0:00 – 0:14)
Welcome to the Revision Wizards podcast. I’m V.E. Griffith, and I’m joined by the potion-creased wizard, Ms. Catherine M.H. Ooh, wait. We never edited that.

Good thing that’s the topic, huh?

[V.E. Griffith] (0:14 – 0:14)

[Miss Catherine M.H.] (0:15 – 0:17)
Yeah, see? What I said. Edited.

[V.E. Griffith] (0:18 – 0:27)
This is episode 40, and we’re talking about what to do and what not to do with your edits when you get them back. So let’s go over Catherine’s top maybe ten?

[Miss Catherine M.H.] (0:28 – 1:31)
Maybe. All right, number one, don’t look at it right away. You get it back from your editor, it’s super exciting, maybe they’ve sent it in an email, maybe you’re back in the dinosaur era and they’ve mailed your whole manuscript back to you, but don’t look at it right away.

It’s very tempting. You’re going to have lots of emotions, you’re going to have lots of feelings, and looking at it right away might set you on edge. Especially if you’re one of those who are getting your edits back in chunks.

When I was doing my editing with V.E., he sent it back to me in the chunks that I sent it to him, because I gave him Act 1, he would do Act 1. I’d get it back, I would ignore it, and I would send him Act 2. And it gave me time to really process that someone else has looked over my book and someone has tried to kill my darling.

Without really my permission, but also with my permission. But I couldn’t watch them kill my darling. So don’t look at it right away, especially if you’ve got it set up in sections.

[V.E. Griffith] (1:32 – 2:04)
The one thing that I would say is that if you are receiving it back all at once, give yourself some time between looking at the letter that you get from your editor and looking at the changes to the manuscript. You may be angry at the letter, give yourself some time. So you don’t necessarily have to do everything right now, the documents will wait for you.

Give yourself time, schedule yourself time to take the time that you need to be able to look at what’s happening rationally.

[Miss Catherine M.H.] (2:05 – 3:03)
Oh, that leads us perfect into number two, which is do set up a time frame for yourself. Don’t let that manuscript just sit in a box or in your email for a while. Give yourself a time frame, just like you would if you were actually trying to send this off to a agency to get this book traditionally published, you would want to have yourself a deadline.

So give yourself that deadline of, hey, I’m not looking at this book, and then give yourself a deadline for editing. Once you have opened it up, and you’ve taken a look, close it back up and give yourself an actual deadline of, hey, I think it’s going to take me this long to edit this book. And then do a how long is it actually going to take me to edit this book deadline.

So you have two and if you meet that first one, good for fucking you because I didn’t. I met the second one where I was like, this is probably when it’s actually going to get finished.

[V.E. Griffith] (3:04 – 3:27)
The next thing that we would suggest to you is don’t panic the moment you see the number of edits. In Microsoft Word, there is a tab that you can look at that will tell you the number of edits, adds, deletions, moves, comments that your editor has made. Depending on the type of edit, your editor may have made thousands of changes.

Don’t panic.

[Miss Catherine M.H.] (3:27 – 4:13)
So that is definitely our number three. Do not panic. There’s going to be a lot.

And so that’s why it’s also really good to take that time to be like, hey, when do I want to have my book finished editing, and then look at what it’s going to take. But because editing kind of sucks, and then sometimes kind of doesn’t, our number four is do have snacks, hot drinks, and one of those toys that you can squeeze to death when you want to squeeze your editor’s head off. And then that will help you relax because you’re sitting there, maybe you’ve got chocolate, maybe you’re munching on whatever drink gets you through the day, and you are squeezing the life out of this toy instead of squeezing the life out of your editor.

It really helps.

[V.E. Griffith] (4:14 – 5:45)
Our next suggestion goes to the order of battle. We suggest that you do not go out of order when you edit your manuscript. Start at the beginning, just like your editor did, and go intelligently through the manuscript in chronological or in chapter order.

The reason is your editor went this way, and some of the edits that they have suggested may be dependent on that order, and they won’t make sense to you if you are not going in order. So earlier in the manuscript, for example, let’s say you have an issue that pops up over and over and over and over and over again. For example, comma splices, which we have talked about on the podcast before.

One of my pet peeves. I hate comma splices. What you may wind up seeing later in the manuscript is your editor simply flagging in the comments, comma splice, comma splice, comma splice, comma splice, where at the beginning of the manuscript they actually explained what a comma splice is and how to fix it, and gave you examples of what to do.

Whereas later in the manuscript they simply go, okay, you’ve done it again, you fix it. That makes it faster for the editor and lets them move on with your manuscript and spend more time on other things that need doing, but if you haven’t read their explanation, you may not know what a comma splice is or how to fix it. So go in order.

[Miss Catherine M.H.] (5:45 – 7:00)
And depending on the type of edits you’re doing, you’re really going to want to do this chapter by chapter, because if you’re maybe you’re getting a developmental edit, and suddenly they’re like, we need to cut this whole character out, and they cut this character out in chapter 5, but you’re still trying to fit him into those edits back in like chapter 17, because you love reading that chapter and you’re so excited to get to that one, but you go and that’s the first one you start editing, and you have no idea why they keep cutting this character on you. You need to go in order to make sure that you’re sticking to your story and that the consistency of your story stays the same throughout. And that also brings us to please do not insult your editor.

It’s not nice. They went and they did a ton of work. This is what you literally hired them to do.

So don’t go and immediately send them emails of you are the fucking worst, you horrible person, you don’t know anything. Take a breather. I promise.

Most of the time, they’re right. And so you need to take a break. Think about it.

Come back to it later. Don’t go insulting them. They’re people.

You don’t want to be insulted. They don’t want to be insulted.

[V.E. Griffith] (7:01 – 7:33)
They’re professionals. This is what they do, and they, generally speaking, do have a good idea of why they have suggested what they’ve suggested. Now, if you don’t understand what they’re suggesting, it is perfectly acceptable to send them a professional message and say, hey, I don’t understand this.

Can you expand on it? That’s fine. Don’t worry about that.

If you’re being professional, they will too. We know as editors that this can be an emotional process, but that relationship with your editor should not be emotional. It should be professional.

[Miss Catherine M.H.] (7:34 – 8:52)
Yes. And so if you cannot get it out of your head and you are like, no, I need to say this, pull up a recording and record yourself saying exactly what you think of this editor and exactly what you think of this scene and why they have it wrong. Wait five minutes and play that back to yourself.

You’re going to see exactly what they’re going to see, and it’s going to be you screaming at them. And it makes you think about, A, how you’re going to talk about it, and B, sometimes that’s all you needed. You just needed to vent it out at the imaginary editor because squeezing that little toy to death just wasn’t doing it for you anymore.

And one of my favorite tips, because this one isn’t quite VE’s, is don’t blindly listen to your editor. Everything that an editor puts into a book are suggestions. These things do not have to be followed.

They are not the holy God from above who knows everything. It is really nice if they do, but there are times where your editor is wrong, and that is okay because they are also looking at your book from a different perspective. Mine is the cup that VE has gotten from me that says editors were always right, pretty much, but yeah.

[V.E. Griffith] (8:53 – 10:01)
It says if at first you don’t succeed, try doing what your editor told you to do in the first place. Yeah, the message there is don’t blindly trust your editor. At the same time, give them the benefit of the doubt because they have taken an objective look at your manuscript.

This is what they see. This is what the reader is going to see. You’re very close to your manuscript, even if you’ve taken three months away from it.

You’re very close to it. You have spent a lot of time working on it. This gets easier the more manuscripts you write, but especially if you’re writing your first manuscript where you have taken 10 years to write the thing.

Make sure that you consider their suggestions, but don’t blindly say yes. Don’t blindly reject what they tell you either because, oh, it was perfect the first time. This is my author voice.

It has to be this way, especially when it comes to things like grammar. No, it doesn’t. If it’s confusing, it’s confusing.

Just because you know what you said doesn’t mean that the editor knew what you said, and if the editor doesn’t know what you said, the reader’s not going to know what you said, so it goes both ways.

[Miss Catherine M.H.] (10:01 – 11:01)
Yeah. All in all, my last tip, and number 10, would definitely be listen to your instincts. Instincts.

Wow. Insects. Okay.

Number 10 would be listen to your instincts. You wrote the darn thing. Yes, there will be times where it makes sense what an editor is telling you, but you also know that it doesn’t quite line up with some of the things, or maybe it doesn’t line up with your brand, or if you have an editor who doesn’t work in your genre normally, but that’s what you could afford at that time, really do your homework in that sense, and look at does this line up with the genre, the type of book I’m trying to do. Trust yourself. You’re not the worst person in the world, and not everything they say is 100% the correct way to do it.

They are suggestions. Most of the time, they are correct, like 90%, I would say. What do you think, 90?

I’d say 90.

[V.E. Griffith] (11:02 – 11:04)
I’d say 95, just to be different from you.

[Miss Catherine M.H.] (11:05 – 11:05)
Oh, okay.

[V.E. Griffith] (11:05 – 12:05)
Yeah, do listen to your instincts. Just make sure that all of the suggestions that you take are going to be consistently applied in your manuscript. What you’re doing, especially if you’re writing a series, is you’re setting yourself up for how things are going to work in the future in your series.

At the same time, your editor has not read the rest of your series. They haven’t seen your planning. They don’t know what your series is about.

They’re looking at a snapshot of what your manuscript looks like right now. Even if you hire the same editor for your second and third and fourth book, they may not remember the details of your first, second, third book when they do your second, third, fourth book. So, it’s on you to make sure that those kinds of things are consistent.

Listen to your instincts. Follow your story bible. Look at your style guide.

Those kinds of tools will help you keep everything consistent across multiple edits, across multiple editors, across multiple books.

[Miss Catherine M.H.] (12:06 – 12:21)
And squeeze that toy, man. It’s the best thing in the world. You sit there, and you get that red mark, and you’re like, that editor doesn’t know, and you’re just squeezing the life out of a the ones that look like people are the better ones, because then their eyeballs pop out, and you can picture your editor.

Just saying.

[V.E. Griffith] (12:21 – 12:23)
Thanks, Miss Catherine. I really appreciate that.

[Miss Catherine M.H.] (12:25 – 12:54)
You know what? I sent you the video on my reaction to your edits. I sent both, where I was like, oh, this is going really well.

And then when I finally got to one of the chapters where I, it ticked me off. I was like, you know what? I’m gonna, because you wanted to see it.

So, I sent you a video on me flipping out. But that was because my editor wanted me to. Don’t go just randomly sending that to your editor.

[V.E. Griffith] (12:55 – 13:07)
Yeah, Miss Catherine and I are more than professional relationship people. So, we’re not romantic, but we are friends. So, that kind of thing was okay.

Don’t do that to your regular editor, to your professional editor.

[Miss Catherine M.H.] (13:08 – 13:41)
But yeah, I think those are my top 10 tips. Don’t look right away at your manuscript. Do set up time frame for yourself.

Don’t panic the moment you see the amount of edits. Do have snacks and hot drinks on hand and a squeeze toy. Don’t go out of order.

Do go through it chapter by chapter. Don’t go and insult your editor. Do a self recording to vent if you need.

Don’t blindly listen to your editor and do listen to your instincts. You are the writer of the darn thing.

[V.E. Griffith] (13:42 – 13:44)
Alrighty. Sounds like we pretty much got it.

[Miss Catherine M.H.] (13:45 – 13:45)
I think so.

[V.E. Griffith] (13:45 – 13:59)
If you have other tips from the audience, we would love to hear from you about your experience with your editor and tips and tricks that you’ve learned. Maybe we can share those with the audience. In the meantime, that’s all we got.

[Miss Catherine M.H.] (14:00 – 14:01)
Stay magical.

[V.E. Griffith] (14:01 – 14:02)

[Miss Catherine M.H.] (14:03 – 14:17)
Thank you so much for joining us for today’s episode. You can find every episode on your favorite podcast player and on YouTube. For transcripts, please visit our website at revisionwizards.com.

They go live the same day as our episodes.

[V.E. Griffith] (14:17 – 14:25)
If you’d like to reach out to us separately, you can find me at vegriffith.com and Ms. Katherine at scribes-pen.com.

[Miss Catherine M.H.] (14:25 – 14:26)
Stay magical.

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