I’m reading a book in which the main protagonist is a High Court Judge. The phrase, ‘due process’ struck me.
‘Process’ is one of those words writers struggle to find an alternative for. The other day, on Facebook, I called it a cliché before reminding myself that most clichés are true.
I’m currently line-editing my book, Ghostbird, a part of the process I’ve never before encountered. I knew about editing and proofreading (and the crucial difference between the two.) I knew what copy-editing was. And I understood the need to be edited. What I had no previous experience of was a professionally line-edited manuscript.
The reality of it took my breath away.
I opened the document and was hit in the face by a waterfall of highlighted, struck-through, underlined wordage, accompanied by ‘comments’ in assertive boxes.
One thing was clear. I wasn’t going to be allowed to get away with anything. Not if it wasn’t in the best interests of my story.
And breathe… Because that’s what you have to do. What I decided I had to do. Take a great big breath and knuckle down. In some ways, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It’s one thing to choose to kill your darlings – it’s between me and them and I’m quite good at it now. I even have a file called ‘Dead Darlings.’ (You never know…) It’s another thing entirely to see them ‘offed’ by a third party!
All of that apart, it’s definitely the most rewarding part of the process. And like all the other steps, it’s the first time and needs to be cherished. Several published writers have urged me to savour each step of the process because there will never be a repeat of those magical ‘first’ moments. Getting the offer of publication and accepting it. Taking delivery of a contract, creating a cover and the myriad other ‘firsts’ involved in one’s first book.
Not least, the editing.
And the line edit is where the magic happens. I’m fortunate – my editor is gifted. She is wiser than Yoda (I’m not kidding) and she knows stuff. With her keen eye and gentle insistence, my little book emerges – a butterfly from her chrysalis.