Monday, July 27, 2015

Confessions from the Editing Cave with JM Stewart

Welcome back to yet another installment of Confessions from the Editing Cave. Today in the confessional -- romance author, Joanne Stewart!

1. Tell us a bit about your background working with editor(s). Did you hire a freelance editor? Work with an editor at a publishing house? Work with an agent in the capacity of an editor? All of the above or some other combination?
Hmm. Let’s see. I’ve published six books so far, though one of those is no longer in print and one of those I got the rights back on and re-published recently. I guess it means I’ve worked with about five different editors. I think my agent technically makes six (providing I’m doing my math right). All with publishing houses, from small press to big 5.

2. What was your overall relationship with your editor? Good? Bad? Indifferent?
I guess I would call them indifferent. I mean, I know going into the publishing process that my book is going to be edited. I’m not perfect. I’m no grammar guru and plotting is my bugbear. I know there are going to be changes, and I know going in that it’s her job to make my book shine. 

3. What was the best edit you’ve ever received from your editor?
That would probably be my most recent release. It was a book I’d written probably over two years ago now, and we had over a year wait from the time it was contracted to the time it was edited (contract stuff). It was a hard book to write in the first place. I have a personal connection to these particular characters and their storyline, so editing it was difficult. My writing had also grown by leaps and bounds by the time we got to the editing, so the book was…well, if you ask me, it was a mess. It needed a lot of help. lol

My editor was ruthless but kind, and she worked with me every step of the way, including reading over excerpts when I needed her to or even just talking through things with me so that I understood what I needed to do. She was extremely supportive and understanding and patient, and I adored her for it, because she made the whole process a whole lot less stressful. She needs a raise. Seriously. lol

4. What was the worst edit you’ve ever received from your editor?
I’m probably being a party pooper here, but I’ve never had a bad edit. I was asked a couple of times to do things I didn’t necessarily agree on. For example, one editor wanted me to exclude the epilogue. I’ve had a lot of reviews that tell me readers wanted that teensy bit more at the end, and so I write epilogues for books where I think it fits. But I wouldn’t call this a bad edit. Just a difference of opinion. So, I left it out of the book, but the epilogue is on my website. 

5. What was your first, initial, gut-reaction to your edits?
Oh lord, it makes me nuts. I go from panic and anger to depression (otherwise known as “I-suck-itis”). lol I’m a perfectionist and a complete control freak. I write by feel. I put words and sentences together so they convey what I want them to, but there’s also a certain flow to them for me. So changing even one word…can throw that all out of whack for me. I also don’t do well with change, it takes me a while to think outside my narrow little box, and so now I’m panicking, because I know I’ve got a deadline for completion. That sounds crazy right? lol I’ve learned to take a peek, so I know what I’m dealing with, maybe talk them over with a critique partner, then I leave it for a day and come back to them. 

6. Confession time! Share anything else you’d like to confess.
I hate editing. Loathe it. But growing to…well, like is such a strong word, but not fear revisions. These are easier on me, because for the most part, you get an overall and the editor lets you work on problem areas your way. Aka: I get more control. lol This one comes from experience, though. I’ve gotten to watch a book I loved only get better through a round of revisions. So in truth, I almost look forward to this part of the process.

I also like seeing what the editor thinks needs improving on. This part helps me learn. You know, what not to do next time. lol


JM Stewart writes passionate, heartfelt contemporary romance. She’s a wife, a mother, a spiritualist, and lover of puppies, and happily addicted to coffee and chocolate. She lives in the rainy Pacific Northwest with her husband, two sons, and two very spoiled dogs. She’s a hopeless romantic who believes everybody should have their happily-ever-after and has been devouring romance novels for as long as she can remember. Writing them has become her obsession. 

For more about JM or her books visit:  Website /Blog /Twitter /Facebook