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Monday, 13 September 2010

Editing - Knowing when to stop

My editing is done for now, and my new novel The Gilded Lily, companion volume to The Lady's Slipper,  is with my agent. She has read it, loved it, and thinks it is ready to go off to the publishers. It has taken me over six months of editing, fiddling and re-writing to feel confident enough to send it to her, and even now there would be more work to do if I didn't decide to over-ride my over-active perfectionist and just stop somewhere.

So how did I know it was ready? I suppose the changes I was making were becoming smaller and smaller and it had become obvious that any changes I made were not going to affect the overall premise or structure of the book. And now it needs an editor's eye to look at that premise and structure to see if it works for him or her. After that I expect there to be more editing, as if it is accepted for publication I will be going through the whole thing again with a fine tooth comb. Isn't it a good job I love editing, and have to drag myself away.

This second book has been harder to write although very enjoyable as I have been much more aware of the crafting process, having learnt from the editorial advice I received for the first. It has also involved much more complex research methods as it is set in London and living in Cumbria I could not just pop down the road to check out my facts! Thank goodness for the internet as least a quarter of my editing was done because of things I discovered whilst checking my research.

But I guess the thing that made me the most aware it was time to stop was when the next book began to occupy more and more of my thinking time, and new characters and a new time and place started to grow in my thoughts. So irrespective of whether The Gilded Lily is any good or not, it is time to let it go, and begin the next.


  1. Congratulations, Dee! and well done for not having to do any rewrites (see my less exciting news on my blog!). Is this going to MNW? Are you still contracted to them? Anway, the best of luck.

  2. What terrific news, Deborah! How will you be celebrating?
    BTW, Lady's Slipper is en route to my mailbox. I'm looking forward to reading it, and am so glad to know there's going to be a follow-up to come :-)

  3. Congrats on finishing this stage of your book!

  4. Thanks everyone - obviously MNW have first option on it, but Will's away on holiday so it will take a while to get it read. Then who knows? All my fingers are crossed. Thanks for buying The Lady's Slipper DeAnna,I hope you like it. And Frances, what a bummer. I suppose I could say things like Well, it will make it stronger in the end and all that, but you know all that stuff already,so guess I'll keep it buttoned. And you're right, as writers we always seem to see the bad parts of the crit and not the great parts.

  5. Dee, thanks. My problem is I've never done a 'draft' in my life; didn't even really know what drafts were. Then Agent says 'this is only the first draft' (is it?), and I'm begining to realise what everyone else does (and so far, I don't). A learning curve, you might say. You've obviously done a lot more re-writing than I have, and it's paid off, and you've got what you have (well) deserved!

  6. Hi Dee - I've been inspired by this post to write one of my own on the same subject!