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What Should I Do with an Edited Manuscript

Updated: Jul 14

When you get your manuscript back from an editor, prepare yourself for a lot of red. Editors will change your word usage, vary sentence structure, and even paragraph structure. This causes your returned manuscript to look like someone took a hatchet to it. However, your editor is your partner, your guide, and your coach. Both of you have the same goal—to make your novel better and enhance your reader's interest and involvement.


You may think a red manuscript means you are a horrible writer. That isn't true. A bloody manuscript only means the editor took a lot of time and care to assure your book is the best it can be within that round of editing. So, when you see red, don’t see red!


After you get over your shock, possibly in a couple of days, look through the editor’s comments. Usually, comments address bigger issues. Some comments are uplifting, telling you what they like/love about your book. Some may mention a few inconsistencies that need addressed before you begin looking at the sentence level edits.


When you have addressed any plot holes and corrected POV and tense issues, you are ready to move on to the sentence edits be sure to read both versions, yours and the editors, before deciding to accept, reject, or rewrite the sentence. An editor’s restructuring of sentences or paragraphs are always suggestions. It is your novel; your choice.


Be prepared to be pissed off. It's normal to become frustrated with reviewing all the editor's suggestions and changes. You might think they changed too much or changed it incorrectly. Keep in mind, they have made changes only to benefit you, and no one is perfect. Your editor isn’t always going to understand some of your nuances and may even question them. They are probably your novel’s first exposure to an audience. So, if they aren’t getting your message, how much better will your readers understand it? An editor’s job is to point out anything that is confusing, inconsistent, or leaves them questioning something. It's your job to fix those things the best way you can.


After you accept, reject, or re-write portions, reread the entire manuscript, preferably out loud, to make sure your sentences read properly and flow from one to the next. Only after your second review, should you send it back to the editor for another pass. This second pass will be less bloody, for sure!


Recap:

* Be prepared for red.

* Take a couple of days for the shock to wear off.

* Keep in mind, your editor is your partner.

* Read comments first.

* Be prepared to be pissed off when viewing sentence level edits.

* Remember, all edits are suggestions.

* Choose wisely on accepting or rejecting your editor's suggestions.

* Remember, it is your novel, your choice.

* Review your edited version.

* Send it for a second pass.



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