What did you expect after the contract was sighed? Did you think you would get line by line edits and be ready to go? Because I have known a few authors I had a little more of a realistic idea of how things would go. Although each editor has their own approach.
The second round of edits are still rewrites, but a lot less substantial then possibly having to change a major plot point. My editor is great at giving leading advice. She steers you in the direction that makes the most sense while still allowing for my own creative voice. Once my story is published I will give specific examples, but for now I feel the need to be general in a specific sort of way.
Some example comments:
“Here is another place to be very specific.” What I learned from this statement, is that even though word count matters, don’t skimp. People actually do care about specifics. I always hate when authors go into random details that have no bearing on the story. What I failed to realize is that a characters past love interests matter, even if just a one liner; generalization of “all his past girlfriends” may not cut it. My change now says ‘the girl who expected him to change everything, or the girl who refused to visit him in the hospital, and the list goes on and on.’ Or close to that. This actually falls under show vs tell.
“Here is sounds like they actually were dating because you use the word date.” Although in my mind the word date doesn’t mean to actually date, it does give off the impression doesn’t it? Word choices are huge. If you don’t want someone to get the wrong idea, stop and think. What was it they were actually doing and describe the action. In my case they weren’t on a coffee date, they were meeting up for hot cocoa– the closest they could ever get to a date.
“This is a huge moment and deserves more dialogue.” Another show vs tell situation. That moment in your book that is a catalyst or the turning point, something huge, shouldn’t be all internal monologue. Yes, we care about their feelings, but show this through dialogue or action vs. feeling.
“Great place for a new chapter.” Obviously means start a new chapter – the why? It gives more emphasis to the major milestone before it.
“Heroines don’t use the word retarded.” This was not meant in an non PC way. I used this word instead of profanity. I should have stuck with simple and said “jerk”. When putting words in your characters mouths – yes they need to fit the character, but check who your audience is.
“Why didn’t you type out the email?” I had an email in my story. Why didn’t I type it out? Word count really. That and now I have to actually figure out how to make it that the supporting character isn’t hated, but the heroine is still crushed. Oh bugger!
And yes, the list goes on and on. But the good news is, most of these can be fixed with a word change or an addition to a sentence or two. There are only a few changes that suggest building the world a bit more –but also not a hard change here and there.
So again what did you expect when you signed the contract OR when you get a contract would you have thought that there could be multiple rewrites before detailed edits started?