My professional editor has a two-step process. First is a high-level evaluation. This is to see if there is a need for any significant rewrites. This can be flagged up before a lot of effort is spent. After that, are one or more rounds of ‘nitty-gritty’ checking.
Last year, I submitted my science fiction novel Frozen Watch, and I got a very favourable high-level evaluation back. There were some changes my editor suggested, but they were relatively minor. (And the points she did raise were good, cementing my confidence in the process.)
After making those adjustments, which took a while due to a fulltime job and a long-time friend passing, I recently resubmitted. And that, also, has gone well. Okay, I suck at commas (duh!) but apart from that … in fact, she says I only need the one round of nitty-gritty.
You might think that this was easy. It wasn’t. Those submissions to an editor went smoothly as a result of much hard work. Checking and rechecking: Graphing all the characters movements into and out of the story to make sure everything tied up, fact-checking medical symptoms, ensuring that readability remained the same throughout, chasing down excessive adverbs, reading through New Hart’s Rules (part of the Oxford Style Guide) *and* the Chicago Manual of Style to ensure all the writing conventions were observed … or was broken in a consistent manner when the needs of the story dictated.
Make no mistake: the editing phase is as much effort (if not more so) than the drafting phase. But so far, all that hard work is paying off.
So, what’s next? After I’ve finished going through all the editor’s work, and after one last read through, I’ll be contacting a select few as beta readers … to provide a final evaluation.
Meanwhile, an early draft of chapter two of the sequel, Core Values, has just been posted to my critique group.