BTS of ‘Beyond’: The Editing Process

3rd February, 12:09

Happy February everyone! As we enter this new month, I’m full of excitement; I’m off to Disneyland Paris next week, only have a few months of my degree left, and of course it’s now only a matter of weeks before my book is published. Eek! Speaking of, for this week’s instalment of Behind The Scenes of ‘Beyond’, I’ll be telling you all about how my book was edited. This may be useful for any aspiring authors wanting to know more about the process, existing writers looking to compare, or anyone interested really!

Georgia x

Before I’d even signed my publishing deal with Burning Chair, I’d had brief chats with the guys there about changes to my manuscript. It was never something discussed in depth, but from our very first conversation, they had a couple of key changes they were brainstorming. For some, this might be alarming; what, you’re telling me you’d make changes to my already existing perfection?!? For me, it was neither a surprise nor offence. It simply told me that these guys had read my work in depth; they loved it and were excited about the prospect of making it even better.

Once the contract was signed, we began the developmental edit. This involved the guys at Burning Chair going through the key elements of the novel – characterisation, plot, subplots, settings etc – and seeing what could be changed/removed/made better. This edit came back to me as an initial analysis of characters and key points, with suggestions if relevant, followed my a chapter-by-chapter break down of aspects that could be altered. What I loved about receiving this edit (and actually, the other edits that followed too) was how flexible the guys at Burning Chair were. If I really didn’t want to make a change, or I had a different idea to their suggestion, they were completely open to this. I never ever felt pressured to make changes I wasn’t sure about.

So, this developmental edit took the most time. This is because it involved flitting between the notes I’d got back and the MS, taking onboard the comments and playing around with alternatives. Still, I cracked on with it and it took me less than a week – alongside study time and working – to complete. There were about four points that Burning Chair didn’t feel were nailed on the head, so they sent these back after reading my changes, I completed these, and tah-dah! The developmental was done. And boy was I glad. It felt like a way more structured, put-together piece after that.

Next came the copy-edit. This was in a very different format to the d.e. – it was literally marks on my MS, changes for me to accept or reject. This consisted more of narrative voice changes, grammar and spelling, flow and repetition. It was actually pretty cringe ready through and picking up on some of the errors I made (I do study English, I promise), but the Burning Chair team reassured me that this is very common. Often, writers become so acquainted with their work that they overlook tiny mistakes; it’s no biggie. Anyways, this was rather less fun than the developmental edit but also took a lot less work. As I said, it was literally just accepting or rejecting the changes on my MS.

Once these two main edits were done, the first eight chapters were put online as a teaser and, following this, the beta readers got their hands on the full text. We then had some further spelling/grammar mistakes pointed out to us, so another (much less intense) copy edit was sent over to me to ensure we got the last of the pesky things.

And that was it! It seems like such a simple process looking back on it. As I said, I know some writers can be a little offended/reluctant when changes are suggested to them, but I really wasn’t. I’m new to this, I’m open-minded and, ultimately, I want my book to be the absolute best it can be. And now it is! I can’t wait for you guys to read it.

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