It is Finished.

After months of blood, sweat, and emails, I emailed my dad’s finished manuscript, complete with snazzy table of contents page. It’s next stop is the woman who is adding the coverpage and formatting it for both book and eBook distribution. Once the website has been updated and the book is available, I’ll let you all know what it’s about and where you can find it!

This process has taught me a lot about revision and editing. Since I revise as I go, I’ve never really completed a first draft (more like a second or third). It’s amazing to see a book go from rough first draft to finished product. I’ll be writing a few entries sharing with you the things I’ve learned (including the Ten Commandments of Editing, how effects of editing on a relationship, and things I wished I’d known before I started editing), but today, I wanted to focus on how this experience will effect/inform my own writing.

First of all, I’m so excited to get back to my own projects! My brain has been buzzing with ideas for weeks now. I have mentally undone some knotty plot problems, defined characters, and written outlines for many of the projects I’m working on. I’ve journaled many insights and possible chapters for the memoirs. Having stepped away from them for a while, every story feels fresh and full of possibility. Some of the fog has cleared, and I have better visibility now.

At the same time, though, I don’t know where I was going with some of them. I will have to spend some time with them, nursing them back to some sort of health. I hope I haven’t killed any of them through my neglect.

The most important thing I’ve learned is to get the darn thing down on paper already! My dad’s first draft, like most first drafts, wasn’t the greatest writing he’s ever done. But once it was finished, he was able to unearth the great ideas and craft some profound sentences in the revision process. I get so caught up in making each section perfect as I write it, it takes me forever to finish it. By the time I am ready to move to the next page, I don’t even know what the point was anymore.

Having an editor is key. I didn’t realize how this could really push your writing until I started editing this book. Being able to tell him what was left out or what needed to be expounded up made the book better. Knowing what a potential reader would want more or less information on, knowing what’s confusing or misleading helps the author make sure he or she is conveying what they meant to convey.

Overall, editing this book has been a real learning experience for me. It’s the first time that I’ve edited a book in its entirety, and I must admit, I really wish that editing was what I did for a living. I enjoyed checking in grammar books and thesauruses, maintaining my dad’s voice while making the writing tighter, more coherent, finding the chaper flow pattern and making sure it was consistent, and making endnotes. I know it’s nerdy, but I loved proofreading and editing the first few times. Hopefully, I will get the opportunity to do a bit more.

What have yo learned from the editing process? Have you ever edited anyone else’s work?

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5 thoughts on “It is Finished.

  1. Thus far I’ve only edited my own, and it is a learning process, but when I do it right, it shows immediately in the form of a tighter storyline. Congrats on getting it finished and shipped off for the next step! Who are you going with for publication?

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