First, editing removes typos, grammatical errors, and poor sentence structure. Most everybody that has taken an English class has done that form of editing. But then there’s the deeper the edit. The one where you, the author, take a look at your plot and see if it has any holes. Like, when my villain called my hero by his real name, which he doesn’t know, and not his undercover name. Oopsie. I caught that one, luckily. Or, it could be more subtle, like the type of shoes prisoners wear in prison. I wasn’t aware, and I should have researched. But my editor noticed.
And then there is my favorite edit. The one where my editor asks me, “Do you really want Jake to sound like that? This is a romance, after all…” Or, “This scene would really be awesome from the other character’s pov…” These are the edits where the author has to question her whole character and plot plan. And it takes time. Time that might set your debut back a month or two. Yet, in the long run, is it worth it?
I’ll let you know. Right now I’m facing a few more “problematic” areas that need my attention. But for the most part I’ve removed, switched, added, and deleted enough sections that it feels like I’ve rewritten my novel. And, surprisingly, the book seems better for these changes. It flows more easily without losing its original flavor, the action is streamlined, and I hope the reader will sink into this world I’ve created and not want to leave it. And isn’t that our goal as a writer? To take the reader to places they’ve never been?
Yes, editing is a time-consuming activity. Yes, I’d like to see my novel in print NOW. But, having made the conscious choice to do further edits and postpone my debut a month, I owe it to myself, and future readers, to make this the best book possible. I want my name to come off people’s lips as THE new author to follow. And if that requires extensive edits, I’m up for the task. Because hopefully Prisoner of Love is just the start of my writing career. And now that I’m armed with the editing tools I need, my subsequent books should not take so much time to edit. After all, I can and do learn from my mistakes.
So, while I delve into my next edit pass, I imagine my book being carried around by readers young and old, as an entertaining pastime for the beach or by a fire during a storm. And those images will carry me happily through any subsequent edits I may have.