Thursday, December 2, 2010

Examples of editing remarks from my editor

Stitch and Burritoclock requested some examples of the editing comments Joel made on my Dead Dwarves Don't Dance manuscript.

Of course, he made innumerable revision marks with respect to word choice, grammar, spelling, word repetition (I used shards and slammed too much, and reworded or deleted most of them), and so on. But, he also commented on a number of other issues. Here are some examples:

Referring to the conversation between Grue and Munk in the first chapter, Joel said: "This next section of conversation has a number of elements of exposition that seem more for the reader’s benefit than the characters’. It seems like these facts and speculations would be well-understand among the men, and not so explicitly stated." I changed the conversation to be less expository.
In reference to the sentence "He gazed through the cracked duropane, he looked down across Dresden Drive at a lone dwarf walking along the opposite sidewalk." Joel had this comment: "Is there a more precise word? In what manner was he walking?" I changed the sentence to: "...striding up the sidewalk."
In reference to the final words in the following paragraph: "Munk opened another case and removed an Akbar man-portable surface-to-surface missile launcher. He hefted the military weapon on end beside him." Joel said: "I'm not picturing this; suggest rewriting." I realized I didn’t' need the last sentence, so I deleted it.
Joel pointed out that I had no foreshadowing of what Noose had to tell Cori about Pamela. It came out of nowhere and it seemed like Noose wasn't concerned about it. He suggested I go back in and add some foreshadowing to Noose's behavior, which I did.
Referring to the sentence: "Smith stood in front of a dark blue BMW Silhouette aerodyne parked amidst the junkers." Joel had this to say: "Awkward. Suggest rewrite." I rewrote it to say: "Smith stood in front of his dark blue BMW Silhouette skycar." I didn't need the "amidst the junkers" because I had already described the junkyard.
When I first introduced District Manager Vanders, I did not include his first name or his district name as I did for the other two politicians in the scene. Joel noted this oversight and I fixed it.
In chapter 14, even though Wade Winthrop-Worrelly began the chapter inside his office trailer, I later said he "walked into the office trailer." Joel noticed this continuity error and I fixed it.
In chapter 16, the newsbabe originally spoke as if she didn't know who Chico was. Joel noted that she probably would have done the research about the Spitting Neurofrog band before the interview with BangBang. Joel was right, so I changed it. I also didn't give Chico a last name at first, but, again, Joel was right that the newsbabe would give his full name. (I actually used Joel's placeholder text, XXX, as Chico's last name! I thought it sounded good for a scum-sucking, racist, murderous rocker type.)
BangBang's name was originally Largo, but I changed it at some point. Joel found Largo twice in the manuscript and I changed it to BangBang. I was surprised because I thought I had done a global search and replace on "Largo" but I apparently had not. Just another good example of why we writers should always get editors to look over our content.
At the end of chapter 18, I originally had no explanation of how Munk escaped from the Niskey Lake compound after the shootout in Ulric's apartment. Joel was right, I need to explain how Munk would get out of the place since police would be swarming it in minutes. However, I did not want to spend several more paragraphs describing Munk avoiding the police. So, I decided to make it more like a complaint in the last sentence: "He'd probably have to spend another hundred grand bribing his way out of the compound before the real cops arrived." I thought this came out pretty good. Terse, believable solution to the problem that related back to the fact that Munk was carrying a lot of money. Also revealed that Munk was smart enough not to always rely on violence to solve a problem.
Joel provided a lot more revisions and comments. These are just a few examples from the first part of the novel.
I think Joel did a great job of helping me improve the entire book, from mundane grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors to word choice, plot inconsistencies, character behavior, and so on.
My advice to every writer out there is definitely get an editor before you publish!


  1. Thanks for taking the time to do this! It is much appreciated, I know intellectually what an editor does, but it's nice to see a glimpse of how the process works with out spending $1,000 bucks. Again, much obliged!

  2. Thanks from me as well. Very enlightening. Never thought about all these aspects...

  3. Hey, nice site you have here! Keep up the excellent work!