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F&SF Forum » The Process of Writing

Editing stuff

(10 posts)
  • Started 2 months ago by arowhena
  • Latest reply from arowhena

  1. arowhena
    Member

    So I’ve been gone awhile, writing mostly. Last year I finished my first novel. It came out to be around 400 pages. It took me only 4 months to write (I write almost every day). To my surprise, my edit time was 8+ months. My question is this, is this normal, or is it just me?

    Posted 2 months ago #
  2. MattHughes
    Member

    It's normal for you. Probably. You'll find out for sure when you write your next book.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  3. arowhena
    Member

    Thanks, Matt. It surprised me how much longer it took. It is not like editing a short story at all. I just finished another book (just under 30,000 words) and yes, it took about an equivalent time to edit. I guess it is just me.

    Let me ask you. I know you used to be a professional editor. When you edited someone’s work, what mistakes were most common?

    Posted 2 months ago #
  4. MattHughes
    Member

    Actually, I still edit when asked (and paid).

    I'm mostly what they call a developmental or substantive editor, which means I look at the work from a standpoint of story mechanics, character development, strengths and weaknesses in the storytelling. In that regard, the most common mistake I see is when an author fails to remember that conflict is the indispensable tool of genre fiction writing. World-building, depth of backstory, evocative prose, these are all valuable elements but the important thing is that the characters contend -- against each other, against their environment, against their inner selves. Fiction without conflict, I often say, is just travel writing.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  5. arowhena
    Member

    Sounds like Country Music :)

    Posted 2 months ago #
  6. arowhena
    Member

    How many spaces should I use after a period? Two or one?
    I find Two Spaces becomes an issue when I use dialog. Using One Space would be easier, but I’ve read that the proper number of Spaces is Two.

    Posted 2 weeks ago #
  7. dolphintornsea
    Member

    Two for a typewriter, one for a word processor. That's how I've always understood it.

    Posted 2 weeks ago #
  8. C.C. Finlay
    Charles Coleman Finlay

    arowhana, I can't answer that question for any other editor (and I know some who are adamant about it both ways, so always follow the writer guidelines), but here at F&SF I have never accepted or rejected a story based on the number of spaces after a piece of end punctuation. My personal preference is one space -- that makes less work for us to do when we get ready to typeset the story -- but using two spaces will never make or break a submission at F&SF as long as I am editor.

    Posted 2 weeks ago #
  9. MattHughes
    Member

    I learned to type fifty-some years ago, when it was always two spaces after a period, colon, or semicolon. I still do that on a laptop today, because the habit is ingrained. But usually, when I prepare a ms to send electronically, I use Word's search-and-replace function to remove the extra spaces. It's very easy to do.

    Posted 2 weeks ago #
  10. arowhena
    Member

    Okay, thanks, guys.
    Yes, I rechecked Vonda N. McIntyre’s “Manuscript Preparation” and she says “…No reasonable editor is going to reject a good story because it’s typed with two spaces after each period instead of one, or vice-versa….”
    I’ve noticed too, that when converting text into the Kindle format using the Kindlegen software, the program eliminates the double space and inserts a single space. So, one Space it is

    Posted 2 weeks ago #

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