Saturday, July 7, 2012

A Novel View of the Editing Process

Ever since I finished my first thriller, DIABLERO, back in 2009, I have been involved in the editing process in one way or another. Now with my second novel, LILITH, I have embarked on a new journey with a new editor and a new publisher and so far it’s been a great experience.

First of all, my editor, Greg Gifune, is a best-selling author with a dozen published novels and hundreds of published short stories under his belt. That in itself can be intimidating. But I knew I had a great book so I was confident that it would need a minimum of editing. After all, this was my second novel and I had already reworked it several times. It should be good to go, right?

Wrong answer. I found out that I still have a lot to learn. Compared to most of the authors in the DarkFuse catalogue, some of whom are probably half my age, I’m still a greenhorn. Luckily for me, Greg is not afraid to work with greenhorns. 

Don’t get me wrong—I know it’s a good story. Getting a deal with DarkFuse proves that. But it needed work, from grammar to punctuation to continuity. My first book was the same way, but I have definitely improved since then. I look at some of the writing in that book and cringe, though it’s still a great story.

The thing I like most about working with an editor is having that objective viewpoint. Some of the scenes in the book that I thought were serious got a good laugh from Greg, and some lines I thought were funny just fell flat. A professional editor has a good eye for those things and that’s a priceless commodity when you want your book to rise above the fray.

Seeing all the red notes on my manuscript seemed a little daunting at first, but Greg talked me through it and explained everything to the point that I felt confident making the changes that were needed. I spent hours restructuring sentences, adding commas (I’m terrible about not using commas), showing instead of telling, changing dialogue, and even adding a new prologue.  

At 3 a.m., I finally hit “send” on my email and then dragged myself to bed.

Was it worth it? I think it was. I had written a good story, but just like a race car, it takes more than just a driver. It takes a crew to fine tune it, shine it up and make it the best it can be. After all, there are a lot of other cars on the track.

Soon I’ll be getting a look at the cover art and talking to the marketing department about the next phase. I’ll keep you posted. Thanks for listening!


  1. I know how you feel with the revisions.
    I've been reading lots of books on the craft of writing and taking classes, too but I was having trouble taking what I learned and applying it. Or at least I felt I was. So I snagged up a writing coach/editor a while back to help me.
    The notes and comments were daunting at first glance but once my coach and I discussed them, it was like a switch flipped in my head. I've learned so much from working with her. Having someone with industry experience in your corner is invaluable!
    Good luck on your journey, Toby. I can't wait to read Lilith!

  2. Thanks Jennifer. I'm glad you found someone to work with. Every author needs an editor - even Stephen King!