Newspaper editing versus novel editing

I’ve heard it said that journalists are the prostitutes of the literary world, turning quick tricks for low pay. I have a stronger appreciation for that joke having completed my first novel and got it about five yards away from the end zone (apologies for the mixed metaphors).

Editing at a newspaper, which I did for about five years non-consecutively, is quick and the stories are short. Even magazine articles (which I’ve written but never edited) and Sunday A1 features are infinitesimal compared to a novel, even a relatively short one like my debut work, Deep Background (now available for pre-order at http://blackrosewriting.com/suspensethriller/deepbackground).

Here’s how I finally ended up getting a thorough line edit on the final pass. I printed it out, which makes all the difference in the world and is what most newsrooms still do right before going to press. I then made myself physically touch each word with the back of a pen to make sure it was there because accidentally deleting too many or not enough words is something I tend to do when editing on a computer screen. I (and my editing partner in crime, Amber) found far too many of these missing words.

I also tapped the words as slow as I could, allowing Editor Rick more time to contemplate whether Writer Rick made the correct word choice or had been redundant. About 230 pages later, Editor Rick was displeased with Writer Rick. Okay, fine, he was upset with Writer Rick.

But, the end product will be much better. And, I now know I need to do this procedure at least once (probably twice) before submitting my next manuscript to agents and publishing houses.

As it stands, I’m awaiting a final e-proof of Deep Background, which will include about a dozen requested changes, then it will be locked in for printing copies and getting them in your hands by the release date of Dec. 6!

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