Working with an Editor

The process of writing a book is emotional, long, hard work.  Once a complete story is ready I have found that including a professional editor is the best way to prepare a book that can be understood and appreciated by the reading public.  Once we determined we were a good fit and that the editor would be comfortable working with a dark, violent story that involved marginalized groups, we set off with a developmental edit.  The editor, Amber Helt, from Rooted in Writing, determined that I needed help with pacing, acceleration, dialogue, and timeline order.  She also identified some important characters that had not been developed and started asking for information about the, putting them into chapters with their own point of view.  She kept an eye on Point of View throughout the book.  She asked me for an “I love you” chapter, a PTSD dream chapter and more.  She worked on the violence and motivation for it, the actual commission of violent acts and the logic of the timing for it.  She dove into the romance in the book without judging it.

The end result is that we took out 30,000 words of the original manuscript and added back 20,000 words that included the new character development and the redesigned timeline.  She took out passages and people who slowed the story or did not really add to the narrative.  She did a very good job of changing the book into civilian language and still keeping the military information accurate.

As I read the revisions and added the requested information I started to see a book that I would like to read myself.  The end product is so much more accessible and inviting.  The editing process has increased the size of the market for the book by several factors.

We are done with the development of the book and she will now start the copy edit that will clean the book up and prepare it to be submitted to publishers or to prepare it for an eBook format.  I have options now because this book is actually publishable.

Getting a book out involved the art of writing, having a story to tell, having the courage and discipline to write 90,000 words, the skills of language provided by a professional editor, and then the marketing skills involved in selling it to the publishing world and then the public.  It isn’t reasonable to expect one person to be able to do all these things.  Get help along the way from professionals who can complaint your art.

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