Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Working with an Editor

I have another book in the pipeline. Again to be published by BRF it looks as if it will be called:

God's Church; My Place
(Finding my place in the Christian community)

It's designed to be read by people who find themselves as members of church wanting to contribute but with no aspirations of leadership. It's short, quite light yet full of practical ideas. I guess it's a slight antidote to the feeling I have that para-church organisations are only interested in leadership these days. One day they'll turn round and find there's no-one left to be led.

If you're excited thank you, but have patience. It's not due out until next spring.

I had a page of suggestions from the commissioning editor to work through. My experience of her work is that she tones down all those bits where insensitivity will come over too harshly for the publishers' panel. These bits are removed before they hit the copy editor's desk. 'Nobody likes a smart-arse' fell at the first.

She also, helpfully, tells me where I haven't quite completed an argument or made something absolutely clear. When you write, and you know the point you are making, it is amazing how many times you fall short of actually and specifically making it.

When re-reading a work I have put aside for three months I also, usually, find typos. This despite a long proof-read back in April. It is so hard to proof your own text as your eye makes the sense your fingers may not have done. This teaches me one thing - if you can put copy down, leave it and come back to it you will see more errors. A good argument for trying to finish well before deadline.

If you work with editors do love them. They are on your side. It can feel a bit like your work is being marked and bring back bad memories of school. In fact your work is being improved yet you get to keep most of the credit. Your name remains on the cover.

And then the copy editors will improve things further. Sentences without verbs will be treated with suspicion, spelling mistakes will vanish, grammatical goofs will be adjusted and yet the book will still appear to have been written in what you laughably call your style.

This is all very good and a privilege.

4 comments:

Bob said...

"God's Church; My Place" I quite like the idea of something Milligan like and more in touch with some church leaders - God, his place in My Church

Marcella said...

"One day they'll turn round and find there's no-one left to be led". So true.

Di said...

I look forward to reading it.
Di

Mr Gnome said...

Hurrah! Just been reading Alan Bradley's The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag, a fun 'retro' English village murder mystery. Author includes a fulsome 'thank you' to his editor. At one point the narrator describes an old photograph in which 'plump ladies...sit astride cumbersome three-wheeled tricycles'. Even the best editor can take his eye off the ball (or three-wheeled trike) for a moment.