“Know your book, know your story”

WEEK SIX: SUBSTANTIVE EDITING

As Kevin quite bluntly put it, publishers are not libraries! All editing needs to be clean and efficient, a little bit like a forensic scientist of words. Publishers can’t produce book after book without editing (although this did work for the last four Harry Potter books). There is no space to store such a mass amount of books and so the closer the edit, the more precise the book … In some cases.

Ultimately the editor decides what is best for the success of the book but of course the editor would have to liase with the author. Sometimes they can write to show off and don’t actually write to write and so the degree of editing differs tremendously between authors.

Kevin noted that there is always an over-use of adverbs, lack of normal words and far too many commas. The story needs to speak for itself and it doesn’t need to be spoken too, so over the top language and fussy punctuation aren’t always needed.

We were asked to edit the first two chapters of The Handsworth Times by Sharon Duggal, mainly adding punctuation and basic language. Although tricky, this was a lot easier than editing the manuscript for The Less Than Perfect Legend of Donna Creosote by Dan Micklethwaite.

I think that this lesson cemented my choice not to travel down this career path. Although I found the exercises interesting they were definitely a lot harder than anticipated.

 

 

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