Each time a work goes through the editing process, I learn something to do or not to do and apply that knowledge to ALL my works: finished and in progress. Yup, that means after dealing with the one currently in the editing process, I check all the others.
With the editing of Challenged Love, Consequential Love Series #2, the editor suggested we use italics for thoughts. Great idea! However, it's tricky to go back and track down actual thoughts in a written story. To help me with this endeavor, I executed a search (aka Find in Word) on the word "thought" and tracked down the obvious ones. Did this with all my written works, too. The lone wolves are trickier to track down cause they just pop up and you have to differentiate them from narration. I find this is easier while I'm writing because I hear when the characters are thinking versus speaking.
From there we go on to the excessive hyphen phenomenon. OMG!! This was bad. I took the concept of compound adjectives to an unruly level based on incomplete/misunderstood guidance of when two or more adjectives precede a noun, a hyphen should be used to connect them. ARGH! Saved by Brian Cavit, editor extraordinaire, who identified my odd use of hyphens. An example follows: huge-fancy wedding as opposed to huge, fancy wedding. And it got worse. With his help, we cleaned up Challenged Love. Then I undertook a huge search and destroy mission through Victorious Love, Restoration, Accidental Attraction, and the written portions of Sparks Fly. (Confession: I so badly wanted to add hyphens to "search and destroy." LOL)
It's been decades since I attended English classes. Grammar can easily grow stale and sloppy. So, with the receipt of an offer from The Great Courses for 85% off on a course and free shipping, I ordered English Grammar Boot Camp. Now to budget time for it. Please wish me well.
But we're not done! Can't forget spelling woes and missing words that make it through spelling and grammar checks, numerous read throughs, and even having the Word program read the entire story aloud while I watch the reading. Notable near misses:
- In Resolute Love, when Garrett and Leigh are in the honeymoon suite at the Aspen Inn, they often lay on the chaise "lounge." But I found multiple instances of chaise "longue" ON THE SAME PAGE!!!
- In Challenged Love, it was a missing two letter word. "…along the side our house." Yeah, it reads much better with an "of" in there "…along the side of our house." It is the little things that count.
Before I forget, a quick capitalization question arose with Resolute Love. Should it be The Aspen Inn or the Aspen Inn? Decided on lower case and another search and destroy mission was conducted on all three Consequential Love Series books. Yes, I'm a huge fan of Word's Find feature.
Then there are my personal oddities because of a couple weird quirks I have when typing. Occasionally, I hit the colon key instead of the quotations key or the comma key for the period key. Could be related to my MS, not sure. In my defense, they are all next to each other on the keyboard. Fortunately, I'm aware of these tendencies, so I complete a thorough search for these with every story I finish.
So, there you have it. Writing is only a starting point. Editing is a tough, critical element in the writing process. The author, editor, and publisher are a team working together to bring you a finished and polished product for your reading pleasure.