Please welcome Clemency Crow to my blog today, the author of Middle Grade adventure “Taking Wing”. Welcome, Clemency, and thank you for taking the time to write a post about your editing process!
Guest Post – My Editing Process
I visited 5 schools last week during my Book Tour, and the most common question that was asked was “how long did it take you to write the book?”
My answer was always the same.
It took me two months to write the first draft and over a year to get the book to publishable standard.
I have found this programme to be an invaluable asset. After completing my first draft, I would fill in the character sheet using the information I had written in the book. If there was not enough detail or juicy bits, I knew I’d have to go back in and develop that character more. I didn’t do this for everybody, just my main 5 – Freya, Winnie, Elialdor, Elamra and Rald.
When I am satisfied that the characters are in tip-top condition, I go back through each chapter at a time and read it with the eyes of a book reviewer. I have a conversation in my head, as you do!
“If I was reviewing this for Crowvus, how many stars would I give it?”
“Well, probably about 3 stars at the moment.”
“Hmmm, would I be happy with 3 stars?”
“3 stars is a respectable score, but I think you could do better.”
“What would take it up to 4 stars?”
You see, it helps to be a little bit bonkers when you’re writing!
Proofread, proofread and then, guess what…proofread again!
When I am satisfied that the book is well written, I start the slog of painstakingly glaring at every sentence to find mistakes in the actual spelling and grammar. The computer will pick up some of this, but not all. I make myself promise that I will never say editing is my least favourite thing. Proofreading is now the bain of my life.
It’s time to pass the baton
Finally, the manuscript is ready to pass onto the editor. For me, that’s my sister. Some people would frown at using their sister as the editor but I’m lucky in two ways. Firstly, she is the professional editor for Crowvus so she knows her stuff. Secondly, I can give her full licence to be as mean as she possibly can…
“But do you really want the editor to be mean?”
Absolutely! The meaner the better! You can trust a mean editor, as you know they will not give you false praise. I wanted Judith to rip apart my novel looking for flaws. I would much rather that than have ‘proper’ (sorry, Jude!) readers do that when the book is for sale.
When a book is published, it’s very hard to change it. You have to get a new ISBN, and make a big hoo-ha about it being the 2nd edition. It’s really not worth it for a fiction book.
No, you want the mean comments out of the way before the book gets published. My advice would be to get an editor (or a group of beta readers first if you prefer) to look at your manuscript with the meanest, wickedest eye possible. Then, brace yourself.
There is some passing back and forth between the editor and you and the occasional argument can ensue…
“Elialdor is too disrespectful.”
“That’s part of his character.”
“Well, it doesn’t work.”
“But he develops through the book.”
“Well…I don’t like you.”
…but there’s occasionally some compromise…
(Judith’s favourite meme)
Finally…after much work and exhaustion…you’re done and you can be sure you’re putting a polished, quality book out there.
About the Book
Title: Taking Wings
Author: Clemency Crow
Genre: Middle Grade Adventure
12-year-old Freya enjoys karate and is the only one in her class who’s trusted with a part-time job. But everything changes when she meets a boy with yellow eyes. She learns about the guardians, and how an age-old fight has stopped them from fulfilling their purpose. Freya finds new friends in the crow tribe but not everything in the castle is blissful. A destructive shadow lies within her and all she needs to do to summon it is close her eyes. But as the guardian’s war rages on, Freya realises that, although the shadow’s power can be useful, it can’t create peace. Freya and her friends must solve the crime that began the war, but can they bring the guardians together before they destroy each other?
I can’t remember when I wrote my first story. We had a word processor when I was very little. It was an archaic piece of technology with no mouse, which meant you had to know the codes for it to work. My sister, Judith, and I wrote several stories using this. I think one of my stories was about a mammoth, probably during my I-want-to-be-a-mammoth-when-I-grow-up stage.
When I was a bit older, during Year 3 at Primary School, another sister brought home several A5 grey jotters and gave one to Ginny and Judith to plan and write their stories in. Naturally, I wanted a notebook too, so I said I was writing a story called “The Rule of the Unicorns”. I never finished that rather peculiar tale, but it meant I got one of those A5 grey jotters!
A good few years down the line and I’m a Primary Teacher in the tip-top north of Scotland. To encourage a love of reading in my pupils, I write a story with them in for their Christmas present. The first thing they do is flick through and try and find their name – but I hope they enjoy the story too!
When I’m not teaching, I love writing, working on my allotment and I’m crazy enough to be doing a Science degree at the same time.