Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Editing for the first time

As you know I’ve been editing the Love and Lust in Space anthology. Although I have coordinated other anthologies (the two Men for Hire anthologies; my job on those was that of an acquisitions editor – to read submissions and chose which ones fitted together best), for Love and Lust I am also editing it and it is the first time I’ve done this semi-professionally (other attempts have been when assisting author friends or in my day job as a secretary – the type of editing needed there has been more making sure there was consistency in lists of bulletpoints!).

It has been a fascinating process. We have 10 other authors (I make up the 11th) in this anthology. Some of them I know well and have made comments on their stories in the past, others I know but have not had reason to pass them comments, and some are totally new to me. Everyone had their foibles – one might have double spaces after full stops, another might have mixed up character names (I suspect they changed their character’s name part way through), another might need help with commas, another might have a number of repeat words, or long paragraphs and so on. Some authors made way more changes than I asked for, some just made the specific changes I wanted.

Each one was different – I hadn’t expected them to be that different.

However, what was the most fun was doing the content edit, eg, looking at the plot and suggesting changes, particularly as sci-fi is my favourite genre as a reader and viewer. I will give you an example of a hole in the plot from my own story The Sonic Dilda’tor – I noticed I had indicated early on in the story that the heroine (an alien from a very sensual planet) needed the semen from her partner in order to orgasm. But later in the story I had her climaxing after using the said dilda’tor! Oh dear. How did I get around that one? Hmm. You’ll have to read it to see. (I also discovered I had her opening her legs and using it on her genitals so added a link to indicate she was commando underneath her dress!).

For the others it was clarifying the relationships, the locations and the world building, eg, the physical and sexual characteristics of their characters (particularly if they have aliens in their story), how technical things work in their futuristic world, how aliens and humans communicate with each other, etc.

What I will say is that the authors all made my work easy as they were very well written in the first place (admittedly I rejected those that were not so well written). I tried to edit the way I like to be edited: edits suggested not demanded; other than punctuation and spelling errors, not making any changes directly into the manuscript without consultation; and stating what worked well as what didn’t otherwise it feels like you are bashing the author over the head and the email from the editor becomes something from which you recoil!

What I also didn’t expect was to feel a sense of connection, almost ownership, with these stories even though I didn’t conceive or write them and wonder if the people who have edited my stories in the past have felt the same way?

If I’ve learnt anything, though, it’s that I’m a perfectionist and control freak wanting to make every last repeat word not repeated and so on (actually, I did know this before but it cemented it!) but I hope the authors enjoyed the process (some have commented that they think I’m a great editor *aww, blush*) and I want to thank each and every one for their efforts.

The anthology will be published on 10 NOVEMBER!

1 comment:

  1. I found the process ridiculously painless, so I thank you for that. Looking forward to the anthology (makes note on calendar)