Saturday, April 30, 2011

Guest Post with Katie Salidas

What a better way to celebrate books other then to have a Guest Post! 
Thank you Katie Salidas for being here with us!

Process of Editing
Aka: "How long it took and the steps hit between first draft and finished"

The path from first draft to finished product is a lot longer than many people think. What you actually read in that published book is the product of sometimes ten or more revisions.
We start with the first draft. Think of this as the bare bones of the story. The characters are there, the scenes are there, but they are in a natural and raw state. Needless to say, they are often filled with plot holes, spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes. And that’s ok. “First drafts are supposed to suck.” That’s my mantra. I don’t mean the story is crap, what I mean is, it’s unedited. Trying to edit as you write is the worst thing you can do with a first draft. It stops the creative flow and makes you focus so hard on the mechanical stuff. That often leads to a writer getting frustrated and not finishing. Once you have a complete story on paper, you can go back through and clean it up a little. Then it’s time to move on to the next step in the process.
For me, that step is submitting to a critique group. A good critiquing group can help the story on a substantive/developmental editing level. What that means is :they read (usually chapter by chapter) and tell you what parts to tighten, what doesn't make sense, what plot threads need to be developed, etc.
It’s a slow process, going chapter by chapter, but it really helps to focus on each scene individually. After a few rounds with a critiquing group, and multiple revisions, your manuscript begins to look a lot like the final draft you see in books. Notice I said “begins.” It’s not ready for publishing yet.
After I’ve finished the critiquing phase, I move on to beta readers. I like to choose about 5 people for this. These people are different from critiquing partners because they read the story as a whole. A beta reader can be anyone (other than friends or family). You want someone you can trust, but also someone who won’t be afraid to tell you where there are issues in the story. They might find some obvious editing errors, or they might find major plot holes that weren’t caught in the critiquing phase (sometimes working chapter by chapter means larger story issues are missed).
Once I have all of the notes back from the various beta readers, I go back for yet another round of revisions. At this point I am on about draft 6-8, depending on how much revising I had to do in the critiquing phase.
After that, you move on to an editor. This editor takes care of the final copyediting. A good editor will usually take a two-pass approach (at least mine does). They edit a section of the manuscript and send back editing notes. You go back and correct things based on the notes and resubmit. The editor then takes another look and makes final tweaks before sending it back. Then you move on to the next section and so on, if all goes well, the manuscript should be very clean and ready to publish.
So, you see, from first draft to published book, it takes quite a lot of work, and multiple revisions. At times they seem endless, but in the end, they are all worth it to produce a quality story that you can enjoy.


Author of the hot new Urban Fantasy series, Immortalis, Katie has always had a desire to entertain. Since, early childhood, she's dreamed up fantastical characters and scribbled them into pages of various journals and notebooks. Taking an interest in vampires at an early age, she devoured every book, featuring those mysterious, blood sucking creatures, in any genre she could find. She claims that, of all the monsters out there, vampires had always been the most interesting.
It was only natural that a love of reading about vampires, and a love of writing, turned into a desire to write her own stories.
A Las Vegas native, having grown up in the famed City of Sin, Katie loves to feature it as a recurring setting for many of her stories.

Amazon UK


Nightly Cafe said...

Wonderful post Katie :). Thanks for sharing. Kudos!


Nightly Cafe said...

Oh...and did I mention that I hate the editing process lol. Just wanted to throw that out there. That's the worst part of writing in my opinion.'s a long process and very tedious...ugh

Katie Salidas said...

Thanks for allowing me to guest post here on your site!

And BK I'm with you, it is a long and tedious process. But worth it.

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