I know, Mindy and I have been away for what must seem like forever. We’ve been busy slaving away writing books two and three, The Seer’s Secret and The Ambassador’s Anchor respectively, as well as getting ready for The Novel Experience Event. Now we are into the dreaded edits phase of SS—duhn, duhn, duhn, duhn (feel free to read that as Beethoven’s Fifth, Taps, or the Imperial March).
While writing the third book last week, book two came back for the first round of edits. Smiling to myself, because this time will surely go smoother than the first book, I opened the email.
She only got through the prologue!? What? No, we rocked it this time!
Double clicking the link of the manuscript, the document presented a series of slash-throughs, corrections, and comments. *Head-Desk* how did we miss this?
Sighing, I sent the text to Mindy.
Me: Did you see the email?
Mindy: No, not yet. Do we have a few things to fix?
Me: LOL . . . A few.
Mindy: That bad, huh?
The beauty of edits in co-writing is that someone completely shares your feelings. I’ve heard authors discuss the woes of editing, but didn’t completely get it before experiencing it. I know for a fact that Mindy gets it. If I call out a random word in a quiet room, she’ll laugh. Why? Because together, we typed it into our find and replace tool, and learned we used it 20,000 times.
We have a long list of words now. Carefully removing and reducing the ones we overused in the first book from the second didn’t mean we cut all the no-no words. Nope, we came up with whole new ones this time. They aren’t uncommonly overused words . . . there’s a list of them . . . one we had before we even started.
All the time we spent self-editing the weaknesses we knew of, we ignored any new ones we may have developed. Working through it now, we laugh at our liberal and unnecessary use of ellipses, adjectives, and misplaced commas. Our non-action verbs, echoes, and fragmented sentences. (See what I did there?)
We amuse ourselves the most when we edit something we learned while writing first book, because we felt certain we hadn’t done that again. We find those gems of telling you each and every step of what is occurring, making sure that you know if the character is using the left or right hand . . . and repeating which hand, again and again. It may sound harmless when I say it here, but when you annoy even yourself, it’s pretty bad. We just enjoyed the twenty times we explained something was hot using most every simile in existence for hot—you know, just in case you didn’t understand what we meant. PS- It’s really hot.
Which leads to the downfall of edits in co-writing. We do these edits together, with the help of Skype, living in different time zones. We schedule it out around day jobs and family commitments. Writing the books themselves and tweaking them before giving it to our editor, we do in google docs. We can log on separately at different times and see what the other did as well as make any changes, but once we flip it to MS Word . . . Neither of us want to make final changes without the other.
We are fortunate to have an editor who is forgiving and a publisher who is flexible.
So, that’s where we’ve been. In the writing and editing cave, popping out to promo for the convention. We hope to have Molly’s book out in May. (If late, see above)
Hope to see you at The Novel Experience Event in Atlanta . . . and if not there, at AAD in Savannah! We have big things planned for Author’s After Dark. Please come join us!