I mentioned in my last Novel Idea post, tracking the progression of my latest novel from conception to birth, that I was about to start the first edit of my novel. That was back in mid-July, and I delayed starting that as a second editor was also going through the manuscript and it made sense to do all of the changes together on one document.
I received the first edit again on Saturday. I had a big bid to write for a consultancy client that weekend and swore that I would wait until that was completed to start on the manuscript. My self-control crumbled almost instantly, and I worked late into the night to get the changes made and e-mailed back by Monday.
Edits tend to be done with Word's Review Function, which is a tool that's really worth getting to know. It allows people to make changes and comments on a document without altering the original text, so that changes can easily be accepted or undone.
Mostly it's just small tweaks, like the top picture, or comments on style or continuity, such as the second.
Sometimes, though - it's a little traumatic.
There is a wash of relief after a few pages, when you realise that you've got a good editor, and that you trust their judgement calls.
You may remember this time last year I made a post about a scene early on in the novel that I had deleted? Well, I decided to shoehorn it back into the final manuscript before submission.
My editor, without knowing any of this, deleted the exact same scene pretty much word for word!
I had to laugh at that. Who can mourn the loss of a scene they've already discounted once? It was rather an affirmation that it had to go.
However, there was another scene that I felt the loss of more acutely. It was one I rather liked, but the main aim of the edit was to get the story moving faster, and it was undeniably long-winded. As I'd already accepted my editor's sound judgement the first time around, I had to bow to that same judgement the second. It was sad to see it go, but, ultimately, the story benefits from its absence.
On the whole, it was a fairly easy edit, and less of a shock than the first time I ever had to do this. Guess it gets easier with practise, and with your own confidence as a writer. Apparently we only lost around 2,500 words, which is 'unheard of,' so I'm feeling proud.
This edit dealt with the broad strokes of content and continuity.
Second edit: proofing.