Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

editing is never fun

 but some things make it even harder!

With my seventh Arizona historical romance, Bound for the Hills, I learned a painful lesson regarding editing or should I say failed editing. This is a warning for writers who may find the same thing happening to them-- if they hadn't already smartened up.

On the week-end, I decided I'd had enough distance from the rough draft to go for a proofread as well as copy edit. This kind of editing is tedious, word for word, looking for mistakes, but also plot inconsistencies. 

For anyone who has yet to write a book, even writing one in a little over a month leaves times between scenes where a person can forget they just covered something and then repeat it. Also plot ideas change as the characters become more entrenched in the writer's mind. What seemed a good idea in the beginning can end up not so impressive when more deeply into their personalities and story. Copy editing, in particular, is hard work and mostly cannot be done by anyone but the writer or someone who has worked with them over many years and knows their mindset. A really good editor, coming in cold, can offer many things but not read the mind of the author.
The week-end work had gone well, I thought. I opened up the document on Monday morning and nothing looked right. I quickly realized all the edits that I'd done Sunday afternoon and evening, were gone, I was more than a little frustrated

First, I looked to see if it was actually saved somewhere in a wrong folder or under a wrong name. I've had the misfortune of accidentally saving my last work in a different place due to the computer moving a different folder to the fore. Nope. I went through some of the older versions to see if they had accidentally received the most recent edits. They had not. Since this had not been its only edit (Ranch Boss did one last week), I couldn't afford to jump into just any manuscript as I might've lost more important changes.

Finally, I gave up and brought up the document with a new title using the day's date and went to where I saw the last good edits had been made. I resigned myself to finding all the changes from the week-end. Having been a writer a lot of years, I am not unfamiliar with losses like that. As I worked though, I kept trying to think how the heck this had happened.

Because of past blue screens or other catastrophic computer failures, I save frequently to jump drives, sometimes several of them. I've lost too much work to trust to working all day without many, many saves both on the hard drive and small jump drives. What I now believe went wrong has two aspects.

With this manuscript, I had begun to save my work as a docx, as that's what it has to be in the end. A docx evidently takes longer for saves. Add to it, that this is a long book at 110,000 words, I wasn't waiting long enough for the saves to be complete before trying to save to the other drive. Lack of patience is not a new problem for me where it comes to the computer.

My hope is that by switching back to saving as I work, as a simple doc, there won't be more editing snafus. If this was not the problem, if my computer is playing games with me, I will cut one more notch against Windows 10-- there are others...

Photos are mine and from the region of Arizona 
where most of this book takes place.

1 comment:

J at www.jellyjules.com said...

I had that happen a couple of times yesterday with my blog post, and it was because I was impatient. But to have it happen on a manuscript must be maddening. Glad you figured out a solution!