Monday, February 04, 2008

Line Edits, Plotting and Synopsis, Oh My!

Welcome to my world.

I'm in line edits on SHADES OF DARK (July 2008) which is not to be confused with (substantive) edits, which is not to be confused with galley edits. Which is not to be confused with writing the book. Line edits are, essentially, the second-round-pass on a finished manuscript. You've written the whole book, your editor has read it and come back to you with suggested (substantive) changes (ie: the funny part here should be funnier, the scary part here should be scarier, I think it's out of character for the character to say X at this point, etc..). You've made those substantive changes along with whatever punctuation and grammar changes your editor noted. Now the manuscript goes to the CE (Copy Editor), who basically checks spelling on every word and verifies every comma, question mark and quotation mark. And so do you.

Those are called line edits. Keep in mind you've already done a bunch of comman to em-dash changes during substantive edits. Now, you're doing more. Different ones. New ones. Ones you thought for sure you did or ones your editor did and the CE doesn't like.

You also change things per your publisher's "style sheet." IE: Bantam wants "toward" not "towards." Both are legal English. Six books in, I've pretty much trained myself to write toward. But some towards slip through. So do some advisors where Bantam wants advisers. I also write ship's logs or ship's systems and Bantam wants the ship's logs or the ship's systems.

I could argue the points--I sometimes do with "STET" clearly written over their changes, as when the CE for The Down Home Zombie Blues changed "sighting a rifle" to "citing a rifle"--but understand line edits are grueling. I get too tired to argue (except when "citing" is obviously wrong, unless one it issuing the rifle a citation...)

It doesn't end there, though. After this, you get galley edits. The galleys are the book's actual pages and you have to typo-snipe again.

Figure by this time you've read your own manuscript, oh, at least two dozen times and you can no longer 'see' what you wrote. The brain fills in automatically for what's not on the page. You anticipate. You miss things. It's nuts.

Add to the above the fact I'm writing Hope's Folly, Philip's story (from Gabriel's Ghost and Shades of Dark). And I'm revamping the synopsis for Moon Under Glass (totally new, unrealted SFR).

In the midst of that I'm prepping for an out of town book signing (Orlando, February 9th), a radio interview tomorrow (February 5th), an out of town conference (Columbia, SC, February 29th-March 2nd), and prepping/planning/coordinating workshops and talks I have with the other authors involved for the Columbia SC conference as well as a San Francisco appearance mid-March and the huge Romantic Times conference in Pittsburgh, end of April.
Have I mentioned that I basically spend 18+ hours a day in front of my computer?

Now do you know why? Welcome to my world.

~Linnea, back to line edits, synopsis revamping, laying out the Celebrate Romance conference program and figuring out what in hell I can talk about at my upcoming conferences and still sound both sane AND witty...


  1. Anonymous1:57 PM EST

    I appreciate how hard you are working, Linnea. I know how it goes with all of that. Here's hugs, pats on the back and thank yous for all you do! Wish I could help!


  2. I agree with Donna. If it wasn't for all your hard work I would have nothing to sit back and enjoy during this long drawn out winter!! Good luck with the edits and the deadlines ;)