October 3, 2013

My freelance editor, Caitlin Alexander, sent me the complete edited manuscript on September 14. I've been buried in my review of it since then - except for the usual distractions, like my day job, family medical issues, paying bills, training routines, etc.

The edits are staggering in both volume and complexity. I've been working on the edited manuscript for a couple of weeks now, and am not quite 70% of the way through it. And that's just the first run; more about that below. 

Caitlin did both a line edit and a development edit. Her line edits are prolific and for the most part make good sense and enhance the book. In this regard, she also pared the manuscript down. I knew it needed to be tightened up and am glad to see it. The line edits have prompted me to change some words (use more powerful verbs for example) in numerous places, but also led to a lot of rewriting and shifting around of some passages.

And that was the easy part. The developmental edit plunges into the guts of the novel. This is where the serious rewriting comes into play. Any inconsistencies, lapses in credibility, didacticism, shallow characterizations, clichéd scenes or characters,  and more, are called into play. I'm in agreement with many of her comments, but disagree strongly in some instances because I believe they either exemplify my "voice", or I suspect she may not have had a good handle on who the target audience is. (For the record, it's solid citizens in red states, not sippers of skinny caramel lattes in Manhattan's Financial District.  Sorry Starbucks.) The point is that this part of the editing is so comprehensive and requires so much reworking, that I'm not going to attempt it until I've finished reviewing her edits throughout the manuscript. To do otherwise is an invitation to build in inconsistencies or muddle the plot line.

Anyway, there's a lot of work to do ahead. After finishing the run through Caitlin's edits, I must go back over the areas where revisions - major and minor are necessary, then discuss those revisions with her. The goal is to craft a tight and taut action thriller that literary agents and publishers in the genre will find attractive. In that regard, I believe Caitlin's efforts are crucial.

On a different topic: I've ramped up my training routine. I'm biking and swimming four days a week - two of the rides are on the road and two on the trainer. I run and lift on the other three days. I'm also riding with faster people now and it's helping me get my average back to 20 mph and above. The prospect of getting back into triathlon competition has crossed my mind.


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