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What do you look for when editing?

I've done numerous blogs on editing, and every book it seems I approach it "just a little bit" differently.

I'm pleased to tell you I've finished the next book! Well, almost. Aside from editing. The difference in this book lies in the fact I haven't been doing "interim" editing. Generally speaking, there comes a point where I get stuck and have to refresh my memory, so in the writing process, I very often will go back to the beginning and read what I have to get a running start. And sometimes, my characters take an unexpected turn and lead me another direction, which means going back to the beginning to adjust for their poor sense of direction. In any event, by the time I finish my first draft, it isn't unusual that I've read the book a couple of times already in various iterations. That wasn't the case with this one.

I had a fairly clear plot line, and I'm working with characters I know. Yes, I had the occasional "I didn't see that coming," but nothing that required a do-over. I didn't have to go back and readjust the course of the novel. That's good, right? Well, maybe.

As I got to the end, I decided I'd better go back to the beginning and read for continuity and "holes." One of my standard editing passes. Because I haven't been backtracking along the way, I found a lot of sloppiness! I took my time, filling in holes and fixing the careless errors, and got pretty close to the end before I found "THE HOLE" that would require backtracking and foreshadowing. It was the one part of the story that as soon as I'd written, I sat back and did a "Whoa! Didn't see that coming!" Yes, even as the one making this stuff up, my characters still surprise me. Despite having a general idea where I'm going and what's going to happen, every now and then the words come out unexpectedly. Even after I'd written it, I didn't stop to consider readers would want some sort of heads-up. That's the point of an editing pass. Seeing those kinds of issues. It's a reference back to book 1 (Horned Owl Hollow) but I'm willing to bet a lot of readers wouldn't remember. It was a small point, after all. It became a much bigger point in this book, and for those readers who didn't read book 1, they aren't going to have any idea what I'm talking about. Not to mention returning readers will want a reminder. So the "memos for next time" (the next editing pass) include dropping in hints about the "Whoa!" moment. Foreshadowing.

With that pass completed, it will be on to see how I did. Does the foreshadowing work? Or have I overdone it? Does the story flow? "Regular" editing will ensue, the proofreading end of things and "scrubbing" of unnecessary words.

I'm looking at a September release date. In the meantime, Horned Owl Hollow is out in audio (in case you want to refresh your memory while you're waiting).

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