I have been not been writing for over a year, other than sending out a weekly blog. I thought I’d written ‘The End’ for Casanova Cowboy and decided to send the manuscript to Susan Uttendorfsky one more time for proofing.
Two years earlier she had copy-edited the document and sent her comments and suggestions. At that time, when I read through them and came to the last chapters, she made me realize that there was much more to my story than I had written.
Now that Books in Motion is under contract with me to record Rusty Springs, the first in my Wild West series, and are interested in taking a look at Casanova, the second, it was important to send Susan the manuscript for proofing.
However, I discovered that once I began rewriting the last chapters, two years ago that I had not gone through her Track Changes and comments. I looked for them on my computer, only to discover that they had been wiped clean when my computer crashed.
In a panic, a month ago, I e-mailed Susan. She quickly put my mind at ease, saying, “I always save all documents I’ve edited,” and re-sent both Track Change and her edited copy at no charge.
Now I am reviewing my story with “fresh eyes,” learning so much about what works and what doesn’t.
The value of a second eye, especially one as seasoned and wise as Susan, is one of my most valuable tools. A great editor gives the feeling she is working with an author to improve, clarify and guide the story to the best possible read. I notice that when my manuscript is rolling along and tension is building, that she understands what I was attempting to say, but hadn’t, and adds a sentence of her own.
I’ve never had a problem proofreading. My first job after graduating in journalism from the University of Iowa was as a medical book editor for Mosby Publishing in St. Louis. This was tedious, precise editing. In the medical field, words, if not exact, can be dangerous. One foreigner was one of my first clients. Every sentence of his had to be re-written. My managing editor was horrified when she found out and immediately sent the manuscript back to the author. He approved and appreciated my diligence and complete re-write.
I had understood what he was trying to say. Creating is easy. But, writing skillfully can be painful. The end goal– to produce a ‘good read,’– is worthy of the effort. Thank you, Susan, for helping me be the best I can be.
So it is time now to return to work on Casanova Cowboy. His story is really getting exciting and I can’t wait to see what happens. (I’ve found that’s that the only good thing about neglecting a manuscript.)