Jul. 16th, 2007

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Well folks, I'm thinking about eating my words, and what a lovely meal that will make.

I've been a strong advocate of getting distance from the manuscript before I tackle it, which is pretty easy with my backlog anyway.

But now I'm rethinking that position...sort of.

For the last three novels I've edited, I've followed this pattern:

1) Wait sometimes years before rereading.
2) Remember everything anyway so no distance.
3) Do an edit pass I think is pretty darn solid.
4) Get back crits that make it clear that I saw but didn't act on a ton. (This step is not necessary for the same realization to occur.)
5) Blush, stumble about, curse under my breath, and shove the novel to the side for another, more-efficient edit sometime later.
6) Grumble, complain, procrastinate.
7) Finally pull out the manuscript again a few months later and see everything in a different light whether or not I had crits and whether or not the crits mention these aspects.
8) Come out of the second edit with a much stronger book.

Now the first time this happened with Heart of the Crystal, something prevented me from sending the manuscript to critters, I don't remember what. When I was finally ready, I glanced at the manuscript before sending it off and was horrified. Pulled it back, did another whole edit pass as if the first had never happened, and sent that one out much more secure in the contents.

I just realized today that both Selkie and Key followed that same pattern with crits coming back with things I should have seen and/or acted upon.

So I've come to this unsteady conclusion that I may require a straightforward edit pass to teach my mind that a book has become an entity separate from me. And what better time to perform this surgery than right after I've written it so I can start out the next run with a clear edit focus.

That's the plan anyway. Who knows if it'll actually come to be? I certainly don't need another edit on my plate when Seeing Is Believing reaches the end. On the other hand, it may enable me to classify the edits by level of difficulty or something so that I can choose what to do next with more ease.

We'll have to wait and see.

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Margaret McGaffey Fisk

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