Rewrite, Revise, Revisit: A Guide to Editing Your Book | Amy Stewart | Skillshare

Rewrite, Revise, Revisit: A Guide to Editing Your Book

Amy Stewart, Writer & artist

Rewrite, Revise, Revisit: A Guide to Editing Your Book

Amy Stewart, Writer & artist

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10 Lessons (38m)
    • 1. Introduction

      1:29
    • 2. Project

      1:01
    • 3. Structural Rewrites

      3:32
    • 4. Revise with Purpose

      5:49
    • 5. Line Edits

      4:26
    • 6. Final Polish

      4:52
    • 7. Working with Editors

      8:20
    • 8. Copy Editing

      3:55
    • 9. Proofreading

      2:37
    • 10. Final Thoughts

      1:53
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About This Class

Have you finished a first draft? Congratulations! Now the fun begins.

Every writer knows that editing is the most important part of the writing process. This is where all the really important, meaningful work happens.

It’s where you have the most control, and the ability to really carry out your intentions and make this into the kind of book you set out to write in the first place.

In this class I’m going to give you a toolbox for approaching every edit, and every revision, of your book, including:

  • What you can do in the early stages of editing
  • What’s better to leave for the final stages
  • How to handle the edits you get back from your editor
  • What happens in the copyediting and proofreading stages

This class is for anyone who has finished a first draft, whether it’s fiction, nonfiction, memoir, an essay collection, a how-to guide—no matter what kind of book you’re writing, a top-notch edit will get it ready for publication.

Meet Your Teacher

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Amy Stewart

Writer & artist

Teacher

 

Welcome! For the last twenty years, I've devoted my life to making art and writing books. It gives me great joy to share what I've learned with you. 

I love talking to writers and artists, and bonding over the creative process. I started teaching so that I can  inspire others to take the leap. 

I believe that drawing, painting, and writing are all teachable skills. Forget about talent--it doesn't exist, and you don't need it. With some quality instruction and lots of practice, any of us can make meaningful, honest, and unique art and literature.

I'm the New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen books. When I'm not writing or traveling on book tour, I'm painting and drawing in ink, watercolor, gouache, and oil. Come f... See full profile

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Transcripts

1. Introduction: Hello, I'm Amy Stewart. I'm the author of both nonfiction and fiction, including four New York Times best sellers. Every one of my books has been different from the next, and every book poses its own set of challenges. But what's always the same is this. Editing is the most important part of the writing process. I mean, actually, finishing a first draft is a huge accomplishment. But it's only the beginning. How you add it, how you revise how you rewrite that is everything. That's where all the really important meaningful work happens. And honestly, this is the fun part, because this is where you have the most control and the ability to really carry out your intentions and to make this into the kind of book you set out to write in the first place. In 20 years of working as a full time professional writer, I have developed some strategies about how to go about doing those edits. So in this class, I'm gonna give you ah, whole toolbox of strategies for approaching every edit every revision of your book. I'm gonna talk about what you can do in the early stages of editing, and maybe what's better to leave for the final stages. And I'm gonna talk about how to handle the edit. You get back from your editor in your copy editor or anybody else giving you feedback. So whether you're writing fiction, nonfiction memoir how to guide thes approaches to editing, you're gonna work for any kind of book you're writing, So let's get started. 2. Project: editing is a long term process, and a book is a major project. But for this class, I want to give you a small project. I'm going to give you a check list of some of the major points I hit in this class, and what I want you to do is to take that list and add your own notes, your own ideas about how you're going. Apply these strategies to the type of book that you're writing. See. I'm gonna give you a lot of examples and a lot of options. But you know your own book best, and it's up to you to pick and choose and create a roadmap for yourself that will use some of the ideas in this class toe. Hopefully take you through the editing process and by writing down your intentions that helps to make it riel. So I hope you'll take the time to do this. And please do feel free to share this project with the other people who take this class uploaded into the project area. Let other people see it. There's just so much value in talking to other writers who are working on similar books, so when you share what you're doing, you'll be helping somebody else to 3. Structural Rewrites: after I finish writing a manuscript, I put it away for a few weeks at least, and really try not to think about it. I'll go on a vacation or, you know, I get busy with another project to take my mind off it just so I can come back to it and start the editing process fresh. Now, of course, sometimes an idea will just hit me while I'm taking this break and I'll write it down and put it with the manuscript. But I won't jump in and make those edits right away. In general, I would say Take his long a break as you realistically can, but at least a couple of weeks, and when you do come back to it, try to read it straight through and get a big picture overview of the book. Probably you're going to notice right away where things aren't working. It'll be those places where your mind wanders or where you get that uncomfortable feeling in your gut or when you're just bored with the material. And if you find yourself wondering whether anyone else is gonna notice this problem, or if you can get away with just leaving it alone. You can't Those are the things you need to fix. So these kind of big structural changes I'm talking about here they include rearranging sequences of events, moving chapters around, maybe adding or cutting characters and even realizing that certain major actions in the book need to be carried out by a different character. At this point, you might be looking at questions of cause and effect. Asking yourself isn't really clear why things happen, and what happens next is a result of that. You might be diving back into story structure at this point and sort of testing your manuscript against some of the classic ideas about story structure. You know, when I'm teaching story structure. Specifically, I always tell my students that story structure is not just for the early outlining stage. I have taken calm, finished manuscript, fully finished 300 page 100,000 word manuscripts and gone back to writing down every scene on an index card and moving those index cards around on my desk. So any of those tools that you used early in the process to help you figure out your structure now's a great time to go back to those tools and see how you're finished. Manuscript really holds up whatever kind of structural edits you think you need to dio. Now is the time to do those doing first and for these big edits, I want to encourage you to make big, bold moves. I'm also a painter, and there's this idea in painting that if a painting isn't working out, don't just tinker with it endlessly. Make a big, bold move that changes the whole canvas. And I think that's true for our books, too. That's why, for these structural edits, I recommend rewriting rather than revising. If you decide to take a character out of a scene and that changes the whole scene, don't just go into your document, tinker and make a 1,000,000 small change is set that old version aside. Start with a blank page right the whole scene over again. Even if you end up retyping some stuff from your earlier version, you will make bigger, bolder moves if you're starting over with a blank page. I also want to say at this point that if you have to make some big cuts and you're a little nervous about doing that, you don't have to actually delete them for every one of my books. I have a document called Stuff I cut and I cut things out of my manuscript and I paced him into that document so I can come back and get him any time I want Teoh. I never do go back for those, but let's me make those big moves without being afraid that I'm cutting something good. When I was writing about plants and nature, I used to call that document compost pile because nothing that goes into the compost pile is ever wasted. It only becomes something better. So call it what you want, but go ahead and start a file like that and then start cutting ruthlessly. 4. Revise with Purpose: Okay, so you have major structural edits. I want to emphasize that those kind of big, bold moves can come any time. They're not necessarily gonna be the first kind of edit you do, and then you never do that again. You might go back to the very end of the process and make some more big, sweeping changes that you just couldn't see before. But just for the sake of this class, I'm going to treat it as a more sequential process. Then it might actually be in real life. But anyway, the next stage for May is still to do bigger revisions, but they're not quite as big as those massive structural changes. For instance, at this stage, I will check the major characters through lines. In other words, what is the plot of this book from each character's perspective? Because remember, each one of us believes that were the hero of our own story. So for each of your characters, and this is true, whether it's a novel or memoir or even a nonfiction book like a biography, each of those characters believe that they are the hero of this story, and they're gonna act accordingly. So does that happen? Do we see it on the page? Do we see enough of your major characters throughout the book to really understand their path through the story? This could be a simple is adding a few more lines or a few paragraphs here and there to give certain characters more breathing room or more of a role when they need to have more of a role. And another thing I do it The stages. I look at plots and subplots. If there are some smaller subplots or narratives running through the buck and again, this can happen with nonfiction as well as fiction. I want to make sure those carry through one way I do. This is all. Spread the manuscript out on the floor and use different colored post its or index cards to indicate which plot or so plot I'm in. If I see too many yellow notes in a row, I might look at it to see if I've lost the thread of some of the other plots. And again, this could be a simple fix, rearranging things just to bed or dropping in a few lines here and there to just touch back on some of these other events or other issues. Finally, I like to do a complete revision, or maybe two or three, where I'm only working on one issue for the whole revision. Generally, I already know what issue I need to work on, because I've already decided that it's a weakness in my manuscript. So here's some examples. Maybe you're writing a historical novel or a nonfiction book about something that happened in the past, and you feel like it's a little light on historical details. You know, none of us want to beat our readers over the head with all the research we did. If the book is set in the past, we wanted to feel like it just came out of the past, fully formed, and that means finding ways to bring that world to life without being super obvious about it. So to do this, I go back to historical sources, whether they're old newspapers, maybe an old Sears catalog. Old pictures and I just look for ways to bring that history to life in a way that will just feel natural and unforced, and by focusing on one issue when I do my revisions, I'm not reading and reconsidering every word in the manuscript over and over. I'm reading lightly. I'm skimming. I'm skipping ahead. I'm just looking for the places where I can fix that one issue. This also applies to other kinds of world building. Maybe you're writing a sci fi novel set in the future or you're writing a memoir about your career is a nurse. Whatever world you want your readers to be in, how are you bringing that world toe life? That's what I'm talking about. Here you can also do the same kind of revision with setting and setting is a little different from world building setting. It's just where your character is having to be at any given moment, like Are they inside or outside? What kind of room is it? What kind of chair is your character sitting in? Is it clean? Is it dirty? That hot is a cold. I want to make sure my setting feels really and rich, but also not forced. I'm not going to describe the wallpaper and every room my characters walk into. I need a reason to bring up the wallpaper, but I'm always looking for those opportunities. I might also do this kind of revision with action and physicality and bodies. And what I mean by that is like, How do people move out of their bodies? Feel? What is it like for them to live inside the body they have? What is it like for them to take physical action? I might do a revision where I just look at dialogue, and this is fun because you get to read dialogue out loud like it's a script and skip all of the he said. She said, And whatever else is in there that isn't dialogue. I'll talk more about reading your manuscript out loud in a minute. But if you're gonna work on dialogue, you absolutely have to read that dialogue out loud and make sure it rings true and that it sounds like how people actually talk. You could do this type of revision also with like how emotions air handled or how descriptions of any kind or handled. Maybe you feel like you do too much telling and not enough showing. You feel like you're always, um, as the narrator, turning to the reader and explaining why things are the way they are instead of letting that play out in a scene, so that's a great issue to tackle. As one revision go through your whole book and Onley look for the places where that happens and focus in on just making those fixes. Okay, I think you're getting this idea about doing these revisions that just focus on one thing. And I really want to emphasize something about this stage when I'm doing these kind of revisions. I'm very deliberately not trying to read the whole manuscript straight through word for word, because you can only do that so many times before the whole thing starts to seem stale and you just don't know what to do with it anymore. So I'm trying to avoid that. Like I said, I'm skimming. I'm reading lightly. I'm skipping ahead and looking for the places where I can make the kind of fixes that we're talking about here because reading it word for word and line for line. That's what's coming next 5. Line Edits: Once you've done your rewrites and you're bigger revisions, I hope you can take some time away from the manuscript again. You really do need fresh eyes for every stage of this process. So if it's at all possible, put it away for two weeks, a month, whatever time you can manage. In my case, I always carve out a few uninterrupted months at home to actually write the first draft of the book. And for me, that happens over the winner, which is when I don't want to be out traveling anyway. But then in the spring and summer and fall, I'm usually out on the road for at least some of the time. So the way I manage all these revisions and edits is that I'll look at the calendar and say , OK, I've got three weeks at home before I have to go to Atlanta. So I'm gonna work on this, this and this for the next three weeks. And maybe I decided that if I can dio 10 pages a day or 20 pages a day, I'll get that thing wrapped up before I go. And then I'm gone for a little while. All right, maybe I'm just busy on another project, and it gives me an excuse to put that away and come back to it fresh. So however, that works with your schedule build in those kind of breaks for yourself. When I do come back to what I call lion editing, I have a few different approaches for the first major line edit. I'm sitting down with my manuscript. I'm reading it on the computer, and I'm really questioning every sentence in every word choice. I'm making changes on every single page. In particular. I'm looking forward repetition, which happens to all of us. You get a word stuck in your head and you use it three times on the same page. I'm looking for a repetition of Senate structure. Are all my sentences structured the exact same way? And I'm talking here about just varying sentence length. Take a long sentence, chop it into two or three short ones, or vice versa. Take a sentence that is feeling kind of awkward and weird and rearrange it so the most powerful word or the most important word in the sentence comes at the very end. Something like that. I also look a lot at word choice in this phase cannot be more specific. Can you be more precise or more descriptive? Is there a more interesting and unexpected word that I could be using right here? I use it the source constantly to question my own word choices and this kind of line editing. This is all about looking at your manuscript on this Senate's level. You might go so far as to cut a few lines or move paragraph around. But at this point, you really are tinkering with the details and definitely put a limit on how many pages you do it in a day of this, because you will start to burn out and you'll lose focus. I think that 20 or 25 single spaced pages in a day is about it for me. And even then I break that up into a couple sessions with a nice, long break for lunch. Er, you know, walk or something in the middle. At this stage, you might realize that you do have more of those bigger structural changes to make that one thing. There's been bothering you all along, but you keep ignoring it and hoping it'll go away. That thing hasn't gone away yet. Hasn't it still bothers you? You can still feel it in your gut. It's that thing that you just stumble over every time. Or it's where you get bored. Or it's that section in the book where you just start to hate your whole book and wonder why you ever started this project in the first place. I have been there. This happens to all of us. And when that happens, you know what you need to dio go back and make those big, bold changes. Remember these kind of big rewrites and revisions there, Not a punishment there, not a sign that you're a terrible writer and you made a huge mistake. This is just how we all do it. And I just really want to emphasize that the rewriting and the revision is that fun part because this is when you really get to make it sing. It's a good thing to be back into that phase where all you're doing is making everything better, because now you know how you know I'm also an artist and something I tell other artists about working in pencil hiss. The eraser is part of the pencil. It's a two part tool, the pencil and the eraser. The eraser is not for when you make a mistake. The eraser is part of the drawing process. Pencil is a movable, workable, changeable medium. You adjust it, you change how you react in real time toe what you're seeing. And if you're not gonna erase, what's the point of using a pencil? They go together and this revision and rewriting and re working this belongs in your writing practice. This is how it's supposed to be. 6. Final Polish: I have a few things I do to give my manuscript a final polish Before I send it to my editor . You might be getting your manuscript ready to submit Teoh agents or publishers for the first time, and this would apply here is well. Or maybe you're hiring an editor directly. Who's gonna look at your manuscript and give feedback before you take it on to the next stage? So wherever it's going next, this is what I do before it goes out. The first thing is, I print out the whole thing, and I scramble the pages to get him out of order, and I pull out one page at a time, and I do a very specific thing. I look for the worst thing on that page when I figure out how to make it the best thing on the page. By the worst thing I mean the clunky ist sentence, the most boring word choice of most cliche line of dialogue. Sometimes it's even a whole paragraph that's totally pointless and out of context. Maybe in meat needs to be deleted and replaced with something much better. That really makes that page sing what you're wanting to do is make sure that there's one thing on every page that's just a real gem. Appear delight. The best writing you can possibly dio now. This is a tough edit because it's one thing to just fix the typo on every page or tweak a word here and there. But I'm talking about adding something wonderful to every page and painting. We call this the bling layer, right At the very end of a painting, the artist will go in and add some tiny little touches, like really bright highlights or sharp little edges, or maybe just a hit of pure color. And they call that adding the bling at the very end of a painting. And so during these pages, this is your bling layer. This also gets kind of exhausting to dio. When I'm doing this edit, I can manage about 10 single spaced pages a day. Oh, and also you might wonder why it is that I say to print it out and pull the pages one by one like way, not use a random number generator or have a list of pages and cross him off as you go. And the reason is just a technical issue because as you make the edits, the pagination is going to change and page eighties gonna become page 81. When you're working off printed pages, you can be sure that you've covered every single page in your edits. Okay, Um, after that, what I do next is I read the whole manuscript out loud. It's very important to me to read it and his natural of voices. I can manage when I'm reading it. I want it to sound like how I really talk. I don't want to read in a monotone are in that kind of sing song voice that authors consume buns, adopted readings You know the voice I'm talking about, right? You don't have to be a trained actor, but do really try to put some energy into it, you know, sound animated. Give it a real life voice. And when I'm doing this when I'm reading aloud, I'm making changes on every single page. Another thing is, I happen to be friends with my audiobook narrator and she told me that she can always tell when an author reads their own books out loud because the language flows so much easier. You're also going to catch a lot more word repetition that way, and you'll pick up on some other small typos. So this is another edit that I can only do so much of in one day because my voice wears out and my attention wanders. So 10 or 15 single spaced pages a day. That's about what I can manage, and that's still going to take me all afternoon with a few breaks built in. Now, the final edit ideo is this very special kind of spell check. This is something I figured out when I was writing a book that had a lot of technical words , scientific language and foreign words in it. These were all the kinds of things that regular spell checkers don't catch. And I found myself thinking, I wish I could just google every word in this manuscript, and it turns out that you can if you copy and paste your manuscript into a Google document , meaning a new document in Google Drive, it will automatically run a spell check that uses the same type of technology that Google uses in its search engine so it will catch misspellings in technical words and scientific words proper names, foreign words, all of that. It will also find unusual phrases where you might be using a word that's spelled correctly . But it's the wrong word, like patients and patients are. Maybe you meant to write his, but you wrote him. Google will notice that something's off and you'll get this. Did you mean question on any of those? So sometimes, of course, Google will be wrong and you're right, But it's worth doing. I've caught errors that no one else caught. Not my editor, my copy editor, my proof reader. Nobody. So it's a really good idea to dio now. One more thing I'll say real quick about these three types of edits is that I generally go through that whole process twice. The first time is right before reminiscent to my editor for the first time. But then there's a second time right before it goes into copy editing, and I'll say more about that in a minute. But now let's talk about getting feedback back from editors and other people 7. Working with Editors: if you're writing your first book or if you're writing a book that doesn't yet have a publisher or even if you're self publishing. Also, you're gonna be sitting it off to someone at some point and that someone could be an editor that you hire. It might be agents that you're hoping you're gonna represent the book. Maybe you're submitting your book directly to publishers, or you might also be asking friends and family members or people in your writing group to read it and give feedback. I also know some writers who pair up and act as each other's editors. So however you decide to do this, you will be getting feedback from somebody at some point. And that feedback is not always fun to hear. If you're asking friends or family for feedback, that can be really hard. So, personally, I don't let anybody in my own life read my manuscript. I don't want to bring criticism or difficult conversations into my relationships where I don't want them. I save that for my professional life. If you do ask friends or family for feedback, I urge you to choose carefully. Make sure your readers understand the kind of book you're trying to write. And also let him know what kind of feedback you're looking for. Because, really, if all you want deep down is for someone to read it and say I love this and I love you, tell them that. Tell them I'm not actually asking for a critique. I just need a little love and support encouragement right now. Could you just read this and maybe even just read a little of it and find something sweet and encouraging? You can say so I can keep going because there is somebody in your life. You can do that for you also. Please make it possible for people to say no. There might be all kinds of reasons why somebody just doesn't isn't able to read, just doesn't have it to give. And you need to let that be okay. The last thing you want to do is get a response back from a reader who really doesn't want to be doing this. So All right, let's say you found somebody. Someone is reading. You've got feedback coming with some editors you'll be doing getting that feedback in person or on the phone or on a video conference. And that's nice, because that way you can follow up and ask questions and maybe get a little more information back from them. But ah, lot of agents and editors don't want to do that. What they want to do is to write an editorial letter. This is a letter that can often run to 2 to 3, even five pages, and it goes point by point through the manuscript and hits everything that can be improved or changed. There are usually a few big issues that are major fixes you're gonna have to grapple with. And then there might be some smaller things like I never really had a sense of this character's personality or what they looked like. Can you flush them out a little? Those kind of things might just be a few lines here and there, in my experience of editors and agents, don't generally do a line edit at this stage. In other words, they're usually not getting out there red pen or their track changes and just changing words and sentences. But it's possible you might get both at this stage, so this could be a lot to absorb. Most writers hate getting all this stuff back. It's so much to take in. And some of that criticism can really sting. So my first piece of advice is don't right back right away. Or maybe you right back to just say thank you. I got it. I'm looking forward to reading this over. I'll be back in touch, but that's it. Don't write anything more until you've had a few days to let all of this sink in. Also, try not to be defensive. Remember, this is Onley one person's opinion, and depending on who that person is there, opinion may carry a lot more weight. I mean, my editor at my publishing house, she gets to decide whether or not my book is going to be published, so her viewpoint does carry a lot of weight. But if you're submitting to agents and one agent gives you feedback, that just seems really off. Maybe that's just the wrong agent for your book. Regardless, once you've had some time to take it in and really think about all these ideas, you're probably gonna have some questions. It might be that you understand the problem, but you have a different idea how to solve it. I remember once I was writing a novel about a fugitive who escaped from jail, and my editor said that the fugitive didn't seem dangerous enough. She wasn't worried enough about what would happen if this fugitive wasn't caught. She wanted more scenes that showed what a menace he waas. But the point of my book was not. There's a killer on the loose, and he must be stopped before he kills again. The point of the book I was writing was about the policewoman who was chasing after him and what would happen to her if this guy didn't get caught. So my editors point really was more like I'm just not worried enough about what's at stake here, and I said, OK, but I'm meant for something else to be at stake. You should be worried about what this means to the policewoman and not scared that this is a killer is going to kill again. So she understood my point of view, and I rewrote it to really make it plain with. The stakes were for the policewoman, and that's an example of the conversation you might have. It might be. Tell me more about why this bothered you. Let me see if I can find a different way to fix it. Another thing that seems to happen to me, Elijah's my editor will say. I think we need to know more about this one thing, and I want to find that out sometime between this scene and that scene and all. Look at that stretch of manuscript and it just seems impossible for me. Toe slowdown the action long enough to drop this other thing in, so I'll look for another way to fix that. But if I can't find it, one thing I'll do is I'll go back to her and say, You know that issue you raised it doesn't bother me, but I'm still happy to fix it. I just I don't see how to drop it in right at that point, but I'm open to other ideas. Can you Do you have some suggestions? Like where? How do you think I should do this? Sometimes Only talk that kind of thing through. We actually come up with great ideas that really improve the manuscript. The same thing can happen with line editing. Your editor might make some revisions that just don't fit with the language or style you're going for, and it's fine to ask about that. You might say, You know, I've been reading a lot of books lately that were written in the 19 tens, and I just don't think this is how they talked. That's why I wrote it that way. Um, in terms of nonfiction also, oftentimes you know a lot more about your subject than your editor does. I've had editors want to cut out really amazing groundbreaking pieces of information from my books, and I have said, Please trust me. The readers of his book are just gonna freak out when they read this. This is the best part of this chapter. It is new original research on an important topic. Tell me not what isn't working about it for you, and I'll fix that. But I really think we need to keep it. And here's why. Sometimes it's just that it's the only funny thing in the chapter, and I'll say, you know, I don't want to cut it cause it's a great line. This is the line I'm gonna read on the radio for interviews. It's what I'm gonna read on book tour I mean fairly purely for marketing purposes. This is just a great little bit. I want to keep it now. You might go back and forth a few times with an editor. I have spent over a year in this process with my editors because sometimes it just takes that long to get it right. And you're lucky if you have an editor who can put in that amount of time. But also remember, an editor Can Onley come to your manuscript with fresh eyes so many times I might get two or three good reads out of a person, and after that, they're just too close to it. They've read it too many times. They're out of ideas. So before you send it back, ask yourself, Am I really ready to use up one of my two or three good reads I'm ever gonna get from this person? Or should I keep working on it until I'm sure there's absolutely nothing I could do to make this better one other point, Um, att's some point in your career. Editors will start to tell you that you know this is your book, and the decision on what to change rests with you. They don't always say that. Especially not in the beginning. Now you gotta remember. Editors are the ones who decide when a book is ready to be published. But no matter who your feedback is coming from, remember that this is always true. It's ultimately your book, and it's your decision. But the second thing is your editors air trying to make it better. And they deserve your respect and your gratitude. So be good to them. Be easy to work with. Be grateful and be ready toe, roll up your sleeves and get back in there and get to work. 8. Copy Editing: if you're going through a regular publication process. Once your book has been thoroughly edited and your editor accepts it for publication, it's gonna go to the copy editor. Next. Right before this happens is when I might make one more pass through the manuscript and do those three types of edits I talked about earlier, reading the pages out of order, reading them aloud and running them through Google Spellcheck. So that whole sequence is something I do twice, and this is the second time right before it goes into copy editing. Now, if you're self publishing, you might be the one hiring a copy editor. And that's important because this is generally a different set of skills than your regular editor. Copy editors are mostly looking to fix mistakes and make sure that your book conforms to an established set of rules about grammar and word use and punctuation. But let me warn you, some of their edits can also be a little frustrating and irritating. They might claim to not understand something that seems totally clear to you. They might go through your whole book and introduce a type of grammar or punctuation, a language that's not in all in keeping with the kind of book you're trying to write. If you've ever read any of Elmore Leonard's novels, I always wonder what happened when he got a new copy editor, because the normal rules of grammar definitely do not apply Elmore Leonard. So my advice with your copy editor would be the same. When you get those copy at its back. First, take a deep breath. Don't respond right away except to say thanks. Got it and consider carefully whether these whatever unwelcome changes are they really off base. Where's your copy editor trying to save you from embarrassing yourself? And you can ask about things in a way that's polite and non defensive. And remember, if you're doing this an email, it's easy to miss. Read someone's tone, so be extra nice now. There might be some issues raised by your copy editor that you just can't win on. For instance, your publisher might have a house style, and you've got to follow that style, and this can be particularly true, like with technical books or how to books. But sometimes, even if they're pointing to their house style or a particular style manual, that they use. You can still win those arguments. I once wrote a non fiction book about booze, and my copy editor wanted me to spell wine glass as one word. Now in old old cocktail books, A wine glass as one word is a unit of measurement, but I wasn't using it that way. I was just using it the way all of us would if you said I broke a wine glass. You mean Weinglass? Two words, But both my editor, my copy editor were just really stubborn about this. They said Yes, technically, the style manual says it could be one word or two, but we spell it as one word. So I went to Google Books, and I looked up a bunch of recent successful novels that they published. I figured one of these novels had to have the word wine glass in it, right. So I did searches, and sure enough, I found several of them, and they all spelled it as two words. So I sent this list of titles off to my publisher with the page numbers and said, How come these other authors you published could spell it with two words, But the grammar rules are different for me. And so I won that one. The point is, if you can provide a solid reference or a historical source to back up your reason for doing that way, they should be open to considering that. So generally, in the copy editing stage, I'm not making any changes beyond just fixing actual typos. I know some writers make a whole bunch more changes at this point, and I also know that can really throw off the publishing process, so I try not to do it. But if I see a need to make some kind of substantial change, I'm gonna add a few pages. I'm gonna rearrange things, Whatever. I always go back to my editor and ask and explain why Again. Remember, you're part of a team at this point, and you want to respect the job that your other team members are trying to dio 9. Proofreading: after the copy edits were done, the book goes off to the design team to be typeset, and at this point, it's no longer a word document. It's being laid out by the book designer, and the next time you see it, it's gonna look like a real book. Let me tell you, the first time this happened to me, I freaked out. I thought, Oh, my God, are you really gonna publish this? The same is a disaster. Suddenly everything looked wrong, and it was only because the fund and the layout had changed. So you might look at those proof pages and really think you need to start making some major changes. But let me warn you, this is a big problem for publishers. It throws everything off nonetheless, if you must talk it over with your editor first. But otherwise I'm gonna assume that you're just reading through it one more time. You're looking for mistakes, and you're making sure everything got fixed right out of the copy editing phase, because sometimes new ed new errors can be introduced. Deering copy editing. Also your proof reader might have some queries for you to answer, and so you'll want to get back to them on that, make those fixes. And just in general, it's your last chance to catch mistakes. I have absolutely caught errors at this point. One reason it can happen is because sometimes in the process of book design, some of your text has to be retyped rather than imported from your word document. This could happen for all kinds of reasons that just have to do with formatting. But the bottom line is that someone else has been typing on your manuscript and they can make typos. So usually your proof pages will come back to you as a PdF. And the good news about that is that you can copy and paste the entire text of your proof pages into a Google document and do yet 1/3 version of that Google spellcheck. I have caught a few new mistakes at this phase using the Google spellcheck process, but this is gonna be your last chance. So it is worth doing well. Except there kind of is one more opportunity, at least with a traditional publisher. Publishers generally send out galleys, which are advance reading copies that go out to reviewers and booksellers and the pages inside. Those galleys are the same proof pages that you're reading for that last time, so they do have errors in them. Sometimes somebody will contact you or the publisher and say, Hey, I was reading your galley. I found this type of just one. Make sure you guys caught it and that is great. Be sure and thank them for that and look to see if it's something that's been caught already, and if it hasn't been caught, your publisher might just have time to fix that before it goes to press. 10. Final Thoughts: okay, those air, all the stages you might go through from the time you finish a draft toe when it goes off to be printed and it's a lot. What I hope you'll take away from this class is first of all, editing. Revising and rewriting are even more important than the actual writing of a first draft. Also, everyone needs an editor. Editing is not just for bad writers who make mistakes. We all need to edit, revise, reshape, rethink. This is how we all do it. Also, getting feedback can be emotional. You're not alone in that it is hard and weird to get feedback from someone other than Oh my God, you're a genius. This is brilliant, but that's not what the editing process is about. The editing process is about making changes, and that means people are gonna tell you what needs to change. Finally, I hope you'll remember that at the end of the day, it's your book. Onley, your name goes on the cover. Nobody else is. So enter into this process with a spirit of goodwill and gratitude for the opportunity. You have to keep editing as long as you need to edit and revising and rewriting to make it better, but also gratitude for the other people who are gonna want to help you make your book better. Be a person who is easy to work with. When you do need to push back and you do it politely and positively, you'll be able to win some of those battles and end up with a book you're proud of. Okay, there's a checklist you can download. Fill it out. Take a look at that shared in the project section. If you'd like to do that, post a question or comment in the discussion area. I'll be here to answer and feel free. Take a look at my other classes. Come find me online. I'm on social media. I send out a newsletter. I have website, I'm easy to find, and I would love to stay in touch. Thanks very much and good luck with your book