Today I welcome L.J. LaBarthe to the blog to share her thoughts on the editing process.
1) Tell us a bit about you and your writing
I write a variety of genres—historical, paranormal, dystopian, science fiction lite, and some contemporary. Most of my work thus far has been m/m romance. I'm branching out now, as I want to explore other areas of interest within those genres, not focusing heavily on the romance as much as previously.
I began writing as a child, mostly making up little silly stories to go with the drawings I did. I won a holiday to Alice Springs in the Northern Territory with one of these drawing/story combinations, simply by creating an Aussie Humpty Dumpty, where he had corks dangling from his hat. In high school, I wrote for the yearbook, and I also wrote a fanzine about the local Adelaide music scene (predominately punk/noise/hardcore/metal music) that continued on into university, where I also wrote articles for the Flinders University newspaper one year.
I got into writing novel-length stories via NaNoWriMo, actually; a friend told me about it, and I thought I'd give it a try and see if I could actually write fiction of 50K words in a month. The first time I did it, I astonished myself by writing 100K words in the month! I've never managed to repeat that feat though. I find as I get older, life gets more hectic and busier, and so there's less time to write.
I've so far gone the traditional publishing route, and I've been very lucky to have some wonderful experiences, particularly with Less Than Three Press and Dreamspinner Press.
2) What do you enjoy most about the editing process?
I've gotten some great comments from editors, not just about the grammar, but about the plot, where they've apparently become quite absorbed by it and leave notes like, "OMG! I didn't see that coming," or "Come on, you know your horror movie tropes, [character], don't fall for it!"
Those are always really appreciated. Just as much, I appreciate the comments that I've received at the end of the MS, where the editor has told me how much they liked the book, and how they enjoyed working on it. That is a huge compliment, and I'm always very touched, grateful and overwhelmed that the story got great feedback in its raw form.
3) What do you find hardest about the editing process?
Being my own worst critic. I also get quite involved while I'm working on edits, so when I've come up for air, so to speak, I've found that my back's killing me, my knee has decided to lock up and I'm starving and really want a pizza! I also resent being interrupted while I'm working, whether it be on writing or editing, because that always pulls me out of the flow of things.
4) What are your general thoughts on editing as part of the overall publishing process?
A good editor is worth their weight in gold. If I were to self-publish, I'd still hire an editor to go through and red pen the MS before I formatted and uploaded for self-publishing.
5) What are your top editing-related tips for authors?
Hm. That's a good question!
1. Be kind to yourself. The editor isn't attacking *you*, they want your book to be the best it can possibly be, and nothing they're saying is a personal affront.
2. Drink lots of water, and take breaks. Your body needs to stretch and hydrate just as much as your brain needs time to relax.
3. I find doing edits in one-hour chunks makes it easier to manage, especially when it's a long MS, but others do it all in one sitting, so whatever works best for you. Try different approaches to getting the edit done.
4. If you ever feel the need to argue with your editor, go and stand in front of a mirror and yell at your reflection. There's no need to make your frustrations, if you have any, public.
5. Back up, back up, back up. Whether to a USB stick or to Dropbox or Google Drive, make sure you have a backup of everything, as you go.
About the Author
L. J. LaBarthe is an Australian woman who is a writer, a reader, a daydreamer, a cat wrangler, a carer, a researcher, a music lover, a film buff and a traveller. Sometimes, all at once!
Author of paranormals, historicals, dystopians, sci-fi, fantasy and contemporaries, L.J. was born during the Witching Hour, just after midnight. From this auspicious beginning, she went on to write a prize-winning short story about Humpty-Dumpty wearing an Aussie hat complete with corks dangling from it when she was six years old. In her teen years, she wrote for her high school yearbook, her university newspaper, and produced a fanzine about the local punk rock music scene.
L.J. loves to read complicated plots and hopes to do complex plot lines justice in her own writing. She has won a Rainbow Awards Honourable Mention, an award for Best Historical Gay Novel and another for Best Paranormal Novel. L.J. lives in the city of Adelaide, is owned by her cat and is a carer for her elderly mother.