Today I welcome Antonia Aquilante to the blog. Antonia is the author of many excellent LGBT fantasy stories, and she's here to share her thoughts on the editing process.
1) Tell us a bit about you and your writing
I’ve been writing forever! I was coming up with characters and stories since before I knew how to write them down—drawing them or acting them out with dolls. I think I was twelve when I first said I wanted to be published author when I grew up, though it took me longer to get there than my twelve-year-old self probably expected. I primarily write fantasy romance (I’ve been playing around with some contemporary romance, but none of that has been published). I’ve always loved fantasy stories and fantasy worlds, but I hated that romance and happily ever after weren’t the focus, or even present, so much of the time (not that you need romance in every book, but I do like a happily ever after). So I started writing fantasy romances that were driven by character and relationships (romantic, yes, but also family and friendship). I’ve enjoyed creating these worlds and characters so much. I’m currently small-press published. I haven’t ruled out self-publishing someday, but that isn’t the route I’m taking right now.
2) What do you enjoy most about the editing process?
I love seeing everything coming together properly. The revising and editing process is where you can fix those things in the original draft that might not have been exactly right or might not have come across the precise way you wanted them to. I find a lot of satisfaction in getting everything the way it should be and the book polished up so it can shine the way it should.
3) What do you find hardest about the editing process?
I often have a difficult time starting revisions and edits and keeping up a steady pace with them, which isn’t usually the case with writing (though please don’t ask me how writing my WIP is currently going...). For some reason, revising and editing tend to drag for me, and I have to push myself at the beginning to get into them.
4) What are your general thoughts on editing as part of the overall publishing process?
I think editing is so important. I have a hard time believing that any book is perfect at the first complete draft. Editors are a step removed and can point out places our stories/writing could do with some strengthening and give us helpful feedback and suggestions on how to do that. A good editor who understands your writing and voice can be so valuable to the publishing process.
5) What are your top editing-related tips for authors?
Sometimes you need to take a step back from edits and process them before diving in. I like to read through my editor's comments and then let them settle in my mind and think about them a little before I get back into the manuscript. It can help you get your thoughts in order and let any emotional reactions settle too. Consider all of your editor's comments. Think about them and what they’re meant to accomplish. I don’t think we should dismiss any edit without thinking about it carefully, but remember that you don’t have to make every revision an editor suggests or make the change exactly the way the editor suggests, which is something I still grapple with. There’s this feeling that you have to make these changes because the editor says so, but it’s your book, and it needs to stay your book and your voice. A good editor is going to help you make your book the best it can be while it remains the book you want it to be.
About the Author
Antonia Aquilante has been making up stories for as long as she can remember, and at the age of twelve, decided she would be a writer when she grew up. After many years and a few career detours, she has returned to that original plan. Her stories have changed over the years, but one thing has remained consistent—they all end in happily ever after.
She has a fondness for travel (and a long list of places she wants to visit and revisit), taking photos, family history, fabulous shoes, baking treats, which she shares with friends and family, and of course, reading. She usually has at least two books started at once and never goes anywhere without her Kindle. Though she is a convert to e-books, she still loves paper books the best, and there are a couple thousand of them residing in her home with her.
Born and raised in New Jersey, Antonia is living there again after years in Washington, DC and North Carolina for school and work. She enjoys being back in the Garden State but admits to being tempted every so often to run away from home and live in Italy.