Friday, May 18, 2012

Editing Hell

I hate editing. No, seriously, I really hate it. I don’t understand why everything can’t just come out right the first time and why my story can’t simply begin and finish as I intend for it to go. As I move through the book, it feels right. I follow the story down the rabbit hole and it ends where it should.

And the editor comes in and screws everything up with logic. Sure I started out with one plan and then sort of wound my way into another, I say. But that’s where the story took me. I have to follow the story, right? No, some of my more organized friends will say. Sophie, you need to follow your outline.

And that might be where I constantly get in trouble because my outlines often look something like this.

  • Boy and girl and boy’s hot and hunky super secret billionaire best friend meet.
  • Sex stuff happens. (insert various toys into heroine)
  • Shit blows up
  • More sex stuff happens (insert more toys and both boys here)
  • Even bigger shit blows up
  • Healing sex stuff happens – lubricant is not optional
  • Happiness

You can see where this outline leaves a bit of room for me to move. Unfortunately it also leave room for my plot to morph from one thing into another thereby leaving my editor to cry and gnash her teeth and generally wail to the heavens because I don’t always remember to clean that stuff up.

I’ll give you an example.

I meant for Bronwyn Finn in Beauty to be all about the revenge. Somewhere along the way the book became about her transition from sheltered brat to a true queen. In my head, a true queen is about her people, not revenge. I was deeply happy with how the book turned out. But now I have to go back and change the tone of the beginning because it no longer fits with the rest of the book.

I swear that the next book I write is going to have a detailed outline like the one I wrote out for Two to Love. I spent days on that outline. Days. I have page after page detailing the story of two FBI agents hunting for a serial killer. Nate and Zane’s story is all mapped out including Nate’s terrible first marriage and how his ex-wife shows up in Bliss and tries to ruin everything. Zane’s upscale background comes into play as he’s worried no woman could love him for his soul, just his perfect face and money.

Wait. Yeah, that didn’t work out for me. (seriously, ya’ll should read those notes) I had a beautifully detailed story and didn’t use a bit of it. But I cannibalized the hell out of it for Lost in Bliss. Except for the crazy ex-wife. Yeah, she still hasn’t shown up.

So today I want to salute the editors who have to deal with me. I respect the fact that you haven’t murdered me yet.

You make me better, even as I curse the whole damn process.


Sophie Oak writes for Siren Publishing well, right now she edits 24/7, but she really wants to get back to writing! 

Her latest, 
Siren in Bloom (Texas Sirens 6), is available now at


Kimberly said...

I have to outline a paper today for my Loss & Prevention class......I think imma use yours instead ;)

Mary s Naughty whispers said...

Sophie... sweating and cursing the edits is part of the great stories you bless us to read!

I am finishing Pure Bliss (my next review BTW) and I am addicted to your style, lady.

Just for you to know... we (I) know when some parts have been edited (= asked by publisher) and the author did not write it with the first flow of her imagination. I agree that sometimes it sucks because totally not necessary like adding a sex scene when not needed.

Edits are totally necessary regarding the typos (and names used wrongly) but not sure about the extra scenes.

No worries, we love you, grumpy, sexy, funny and all!


Tymber Dalton said...

Outline? What is this outline of which you speak? We don' need no steenkin' outlines. LOL

Well, not us pansters at least. (Ironically, my subject tomorrow is the "boys in the basement" as Stephen King calls them. LOL)