Friday, March 22, 2013

Line Edits

This week, I survived my first line edits. [Insert applause.] Since I’ve been a little preoccupied for the last three weeks, a few words about line edits are about the only thing my brain can rustle up for this month’s INK post. So, please indulge me, while I throw out a few words and ponder, share, and whine a little about the process.

I have to say, editors are amazing and I’ve been telling this to whoever will listen this past three weeks. All my words are now working together. There’s a pattern, consistency, and a story to be told.

Line edits.
Let’s do the math; my word document manuscript has 229 pages. With 23 lines per page, that makes 5,267 lines.  Then, add in a few “make this intro more interesting”, “needs a closing paragraph”, and “chapter three needs more sidebars”. I figure that there were about 8,000 edits. Depending on the edit, I approximate that each edit took an hour.  So, 8,000 hours of edits leads me to my next word.

Dust bunnies.
The dust bunnies were throwing one heck of a party at my house. I got a little concerned when they threw a hat on the cat and carried him down the hall, but they were keeping themselves occupied. 

Sitting is the new smoking.
If sitting is the new smoking, then I inhaled a couple cartons. Husband used that excuse to why I should maybe make dinner. Supposedly, I had to get up and walk around a little. We had several take-out dinners, also.

Last month, I wrote Just the Facts about hunting down the correct version of a fact. In rewriting a more interesting intro to one chapter, I found from a number of sources where the first woman architect made her formal announcement of her design practice at a major women’s conference. Great visual story telling, right? In checking, there is no evidence of that actually happening. I looked through all the literature and attendance records of the 1881 Women’s Conference. I would have loved to use that visual to start the chapter, but it just didn’t feel right. Sometimes you have to go with what your intuition tells you.

While pounding out the manuscript, I learned a lot about writing. What an education. I didn’t expect to learn even more while I was working on the line edits. The main thing I gleaned was a better understanding and appreciation for organization. While the information that was gathered on all 22 biographies and general information on three major professions had a system to it, I came away after going through the editing process with a knowledge of how to work better the next time. And, one friend who I occasionally ranted with, said that it will get easier. So, that’s a good thing to know. Which reminds me about my next word.


In doing my research, the one thing that I feel helped was that I purchased some of the books that I was using. Using Interlibrary Loan to get my hands on some research books was amazing, but I was stacking up some fines. Finding the books on Amazon for next to nothing and then having them here to check things as I was editing was a good thing. Of course, I couldn’t buy one book that was over $1,000 on Amazon.

Yes, I turned in the manuscript at 11:58pm with 2 whole minutes to spare. Hey, it was still Monday. 

On Tuesday, I went to Pilates to stretch out my back, took two naps, and finished a book, that I had been reading for fun and put away three weeks before. The dust bunnies are recovering from their partying ways. Ready for them to stage a rebellion, I'm going to go grab the vacuum and broom.

Notice dog and 2 tennis balls under the table.

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