The multiple stages of editing
Editing is a very different beast from writing. It’s when you have to ditch your drunken slut of a muse and put on the green celluloid visor to become a cross between a dominatrix, an old-school English teacher and the bitchiest, most persnickety of proofreaders. And because I’m waiting on the last beta edit, I’m going to entertain you with an explanation of Nic’s Personal Editing Process.
With a self-pubbed book like Palace of Scoundrels, it all starts the first draft (which shouldn’t be shown to anyone because Jesus, Allah, and Zoroaster, it’s SOOOOO bad. We’re talking word vomit on the page, all kinds of weasel words, and not nearly enough physical description because my subconscious thinks I’m a screenwriter). Then I laboriously hack and slash my way through the worst of the wordy underbrush and carve out a draft that is tolerable for my beta readers.
That gets sent off, and I go back and do what I call the mechanical edit, which means turning on every grammar and spelling option in Scrivener and going line by line to make sure all spelling/grammar/punctuation is correct, all tenses agree with each other, and I don’t have doubled words (I do that a lot, I don’t know why).
After the mechanical edit comes the weasel word edit. Basically, I use the Find function to locate these 43 words you should never use in your writing and evaluate each case to see if I can get rid of the word entirely, modify the sentence so that it has the same meaning without using the word, or occasionally leave the word in because it’s needed. This is OMG tedious (POS took half of yesterday and all of today to get this done, with much cursing on my part) but it’s also an absolutely necessary and vital part of editing a book, and it always, ALWAYS makes the book better.
By this point I usually start getting beta comments back and can add in their corrections and suggestions. I use at least three beta readers per book, as well as a kick-ass editor who has the sharpest eye I have ever been blessed to have my work under. Once all those edits have been added, I’ll do a final once-over as a polish, then it’s ready to be uploaded to Amazon, Smashwords, and All Romance eBooks. It’s long, tedious process that requires a hella amount of attention, but if you do it right you wind up with a killer book.