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Posts Tagged ‘editor’

Next month, my fourth novel ‘Jenna’ will be released by Ark House.  In the last few weeks, I have discussed various changes with the editor, written a whole new first chapter and re-written certain other parts of the story to fit in with these additions and alterations.   When both parties were satisfied, the novel was formatted and returned to me for checking, after which further corrections needed to be put in place.  Currently, the whole novel is being proofread yet again and the final version will then be returned to me to approve for publishing.  This whole process is extremely time-consuming yet nevertheless essential.  After all, I want to ensure my novel reaches the reading public with as few mistakes as possible.

So what happens to any current writing project I might have while this editing and re-writing takes place?  Well, it invariably ends up being sidelined – at least for a short while. Yet even a brief break is enough for me to forget what my characters have already said and done or how they are likely to think or act in a particular situation.  The thread has been lost and I have to take time to go back to the beginning and immerse myself once again in ‘the story thus far’.

But then, just as I feel I have a good grasp on what needs to happen next, I am pulled away yet again.  I have several speaking engagements coming up and I must start thinking and praying about what to say.  Don’t get me wrong – I love speaking and enjoy preparing talks.  But this is an entirely different ‘ballgame’ from writing novels.  So I head to the left a little in my brain and endeavour to come up with something that, according to what type of audience I am speaking to, will inform or challenge or entertain.

And of course there is also the actual arranging of speaking engagements.  Yes, my publisher does some of the ‘larger scale’ promotional tasks, but the bulk of it is up to me.  So I find myself emailing places where I have previously spoken or perhaps testing the waters with new places or people – undoubtedly the most daunting challenge for me of this whole writing journey.

So how can I juggle all these aspects of my writing journey and continue to move forward in a productive, focused way?  The encouragement of friends and family is highly important, but without a doubt, it is God who enables me to keep everything in balance and who inspires me to persevere in it all.  This morning I read Psalm 92:14-15:

[The righteous] will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, “The Lord is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”

I don’t feel all that old as yet – and there are so many more things I want to write about.  So it is wonderful to feel encouraged that I can go on bearing fruit for years to come!  But it is even more wonderful to know that the Lord will always be my firm and sure Rock – in fact the perfect ‘fulcrum’ for my balancing act of being an author.  If God is at the centre of all I do, then I know I can be at peace, whatever is happening in my writing and speaking world.

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My eyes are bulging. My shoulders are aching. Everywhere I look I see words in front of my eyes.  You see, I am almost at the end of a final edit of my fourth novel ‘Jenna’ before it is published next month by Ark House Press.

My editor has worked hard on the manuscript too, typing her suggestions in red. My job has been to check all these and change them into black if I agree with her suggestions. But it is often not as straightforward as that. If I want to change anything else or give an alternative to her changes, then I am to type in bold blue.

Now on some pages there is a veritable ‘sea’ of bold blue – especially at the beginning, where I have written a whole new first chapter and altered the second to tie in with it. What will my editor make of all these changes, I wonder? After all, she has already thrown some ‘curly ones’ at me. For example, which is correct – ‘She was one of the few who were still single’ – or ‘She was one of the few who was still single’? And what about the phrase ‘for a while’? Should it be written ‘for awhile’ instead? Is ‘any more’ written as two words or one? And is it better to use double quotation marks around direct speech, with single quotation marks for anything else needing quotation marks within those – or vice versa?

All these things are important, I guess. But in the end, how many people will notice? More than that, how many people will really care?  Of course it’s hugely important to write an interesting beginning for a novel – after all, I might lose my readers before they even get past the first page! But in the end, it may simply come down to a matter of preference.  So how much more time and effort should I put into playing with the words on the screen before me, putting them this way and that, cutting some out and adding others in? I guess until I’m sure that what I have written will draw people into the story and not inhibit their experience or enjoyment of it in any way. I know, as the writer of Ecclesiastes puts it, that ‘of making many books there is no end’ (Ecc 12:12), but ‘Jenna’ is my novel!  I believe in its potential to challenge people and change lives – in short, it has important things to say.  ‘Jenna’ is my ‘baby’ – and I want to see her brought through this birthing process with the minimum of pain or damage to both of us!

I also believe with all my heart that God has called me to write at this stage of my life – so if that involves hours and hours of editing and rewriting, then so be it! The birthing process is never without pain – and my eyes will no doubt eventually recover.  Besides, Jesus told us the path would not be easy, didn’t he? In John 16:33b we read these words:

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

I know Jesus is right there beside me with every word I write – or edit out. And he will help me, whatever the challenge – he has overcome the whole world, as he has said!  So I will ‘take heart’. I will turn on my computer yet again and apply myself to the task before me. And in a few weeks’ time, God willing, I will joyfully welcome ‘Jenna’ into the world!

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