A few lives ago I worked as an editor for a magazine, then for another publication, and then as a technical editor. My method at the time was to scrape my eyes down each manuscript in several passes to ensure that I found everything. I had a checklist I used.
Later, I reduced the number of passes because the publication cycle moved into overdrive and I didn’t have time to do more than two or three passes through a manuscript. But I still used my checklist, I just didn’t take as long.
Now I am fully occupied editing Secret Project #2, which is a gaming supplement. The editorial work is very similar to the technical editing I did once upon a time. I wish I still had my old checklist. Since I don’t, I’m using the publisher’s style guide to pants my way through it. (My internal editor just died a few deaths at that idea of “pantsing my edits.”)
While I work, I’m creating my own checklist, just in case I need to edit non-fiction again. Who knows, maybe it will be useful for fiction, though I doubt it.
With fiction, I’ve taken the comments I see from the editors who look at my stories and I’ve put them in a list so that I can learn to make fewer mistakes. Or at least correct them before I send the stories to an editor. I probably need to create a checklist for fiction as well. Though fiction is a lot slipper than non-fiction and it’s hard to hear what is just one’s voice and what is wrong.
Just like the old days, I’m plagued by a lack of time, so sometimes my stories will go to editors with their little slips still showing. I’m ok with that, even as I try to dress them right before sending them off into the world.
A deep dive into edits is my life for the next week, followed by work on the graphics needed for the project. I long to write fiction again. I actually long for the 52 Stories in 52 Weeks discipline, but I am certain that is nostalgia. Some of those weeks were pretty hard.
Just like this week’s deep edit. Well, I learn the most when it’s hard. So let’s call the next ten days a learning experience.
I hope you are also learning a great deal, but perhaps without the pain and difficulty. Be well, friends!