It took me 33 hours, but I just finished reading through SERVANT and marking the manuscript up with the line edits I need to make.
Holy smokes, folks, but it’s going to be a bigger edit than I originally thought. I knew I wanted to resequence chapters 1-8 back to the way I originally intended them. I knew there were some typos. And I knew I needed to add some content surrounding Purity’s story. But as I read I found that I was making line edits on almost every page. For those unfamiliar with the term, you have basically four edits.
- Content or story edit
- Line edit
- Copy edit
- Proof edit
The story edit is just what it says: you’re looking at plot and character. In this edit, you might add or cut whole chapters or story lines.
Once the story is good, you do a line edit. In this edit you’re looking for how well the actual words on the page flow. You’re looking for parts where what you’re trying to say isn’t clear, where sentences or paragraphs are awkward, or where you haven’t been consistent. In this edit, you rewrite sentences and paragraphs.
Next, there’s the copy edit. Back in the old days, you had essentially three versions of the work. You had the original manuscript, which might go through many edits for the story and flow. Once it was good, the manuscript would be given to an editor who created a “copy” that could be used by the typesetters. Of course, before you handed that over to the folks setting the type, you wanted to make sure it was clean because making changes in type is a pain in the butt. So in this edit, you’d go over it one more time, looking for typos and grammar issues. At this level, you fix words within sentences, although many times this edit will be combined with a line edit.
Finally, there’s the proof edit. A proof was a copy of the work that had been set into type and printed. The typesetters would look at the their typesetters copy and then physically take metal sorts and mount them in a press to match it. To print it, they would ink the sorts and make an impression onto blank paper. That’s how stuff was printed.
Nowadays, you don’t need to manually set the type–you just print directly from document on your computer. So you don’t have to worry about errors introduced into the text because of the typesetting. However, as many writers will attest, you simply do not see things on the computer screen that are obvious on the printed page. And so you always want to print out a proof and then edit it one last time for any errors in formatting or for small copy or line edits.
So this last read was more or less a line edit. I did make some content-sized changes. And I did mark it up for typos and grammar stuff. But the bulk of the changes were line-level stuff, and I have to say I’m amazed at how many there are. I guess this simply means I’ve grown as a writer. But it is going to take some time to finish. I’ll then give the manuscript to my wife who is great with copy editing. And do another revision.
I have to say I enjoyed reading the stories of Talen, Sugar, Argoth, and Hunger again. Some of the events had dimmed with time, and I was delighted to read them again. Parts of this book just make me so happy. With a couple of them I was all, dang, this story is awesome!
Still working on the cover design for the Dark God books. Hope to finalize the basic structure this week and commission an artist. I’ll post the process and get your feedback as we go.