31 thoughts on “Dealing With Editorial Feedback

  1. Terry has pretty much exhausted the major editing methods. If I’m doing multiple passes on an m/s, I sometimes reset the margins between passes. Suddenly, all the typos lurking in the gutter crawl out onto the page. Later, I put the margins back where they belong and find even more critters.

    I intend eventually to get a program that will track down repeated repeated words. Till then, I lean on spellcheck to spot typos and other weirdness, and keep reading until I don’t find any more faults.

    My beta readers often find typos and plot holes, but that’s outside their responsibility. One beta reader, the only one who insisted on hard copy, lost half of a manuscript. Her read was worthless and costly. Choose with care.

    While doing computer input, I flag problems with ‘zxc,’ a tag easy to type and easy to find when I go back for the next pass. I use zxct for timeline problems, zxcc for currency adjustments–are there 20 quatloos in a zord? And so on.

    Yes, I do the page color trick. It keeps me from accidentally copying the wrong version into final copy. I also add color to research downloaded from the internet, so I won’t accidentally plagiarize something.

    Of course, everything is formatted with Styles. If I need to make global changes in format, such as font, I edit the Style and thereby instantly fix all the relevant paragraphs in one swell foop.

    Before a major edit, I rename the working file, so I won’t overwrite the earlier version. BTW, any global seek-and-destroy mission operation begun with [ctrl][H] constitutes a major edit, especially if I, in a moment of exceptional dumbosity, hit ‘replace all.’

    • Good tips, JG. For my self editing, I print the manuscript in a different font and in 2 columns which works like your margin changing tip. You’re right: so many gremlins delurk when the way the words line up is different.

  2. I love that picture. Beautiful.

    My favorite “real job” was as an editorial assistant for a Harcourt imprint. I was the only full-time employee since our editor was part-time and our big boss also oversaw International. They teased me about being picky until a global change one of them made turned our author’s name (P. R.) to Puerto Rico. On the cover.

    I said “Are you sure you want me to be less picky?”

    They said “Please don’t change.”

    I miss that job. We got taken over and the company moved up north, but it was fun while it lasted.

    • Glad you enjoyed that picture. I took it from inside the cave Tito hid out in, and I climbed about 200 steps to get there.
      Global changes in manuscripts are always dangerous. I don’t think the “find whole words” and “match case” would have worked for that manuscript.

  3. Terry, thanks for another great nuts and bolts post. I’d never thought of changing colors. B/c of computer problems, my WIP has been jumping back and forth between a PC and a Mac and I keep losing track of which is the most current version. A different color will help a lot!

  4. It drives me nuts when, even after you’ve reviewed it a thousand times, someone else spots a typo you missed. UGH!

    Love the tip to change colors on versions of the manuscript. That will be very handy.

    • Yep — the names of the files are very small for my aging eyes, and I forget to look. The colored backgrounds pop and as long as I remember it’s the YELLOW ONE, stupid, I’m fine.

  5. Great post, Terry. Very helpful tips. Like others, the color change sounds great. I have been changing fonts as a way to keep track of different drafts, but the color change would certainly jump out better.

    Good luck with Deadly Relations!

  6. And . . . color trick for the win!

    Great idea, Terry. I will try that. Usually renaming works for me, but sometimes this old brain says, “Now, which one did I name that?” Then, it’s off to the races as I try to figure out which copy to work on. Oy!


  7. Another vote for the page color change. Thanks for this easy and effective way to deal with those multiple files!

    Good luck with Deadly Relations. Love the picture.

  8. Wonderful rundown on your editing method, Terry. That color trick is pure gold.

    I always have a copy editor, and sometimes employ a story editor. I don’t ever run the manuscript by them a second time, that’s something that hadn’t occurred to me. Probably in part because of old advice on critique feedback, “each reader is good once for feedback.” Of course, editors are different than a critique partner.

    I do use a team of beta readers, and in my case, spotting typos and helping with the plot is vital. My betas can include writers, but the focus is on thoughtful readers, and I’ve been blessed to have an insightful team.

    My wonderful wife (who is one of my betas and has also helped as a second copy editor) has reminded me of the value of reading my work aloud to catch typos, and my own particular nemesis, missing words. We’ve discussed this a lot here at TKZ, and it’s something I must always keep in mind.

  9. I go through most of your steps BEFORE I send my “final” manuscript to my editor. She includes a second read, although it’s more to see how I dealt with her feedback than an actual edit.
    The final-final “edit” is having Word read the manuscript to me, which I’ve posted about here a while back.
    Glad you like my background color tip.

  10. Good stuff in here, Terry. I did not know about the page color trick. Thanks!

    Something I’d like to offer, and I know you brought this up some time ago, is never to use TABS in a Word.doc that’s headed for ebook formatting. TABS really messes things up. If you’re going to use paragraph indents, then use the Word feature designed for this, not TABs.

    I’ll bet it’s something a lot of editors don’t know about. They might be great with grammar and all the other nuances of writing a story but properly moving it from a perfected Word.doc to a mobi or epub file is a different matter.

    • Good reminder, Garry. I learned the TAB taboo early on in my writing, and I never think about it. I don’t know if editors look under the hood when they’re working on a file, or just the way it appears on the screen.

  11. Good tips, Terry! I like the background color-change idea, but I use so many text/highlight colors as is, I’d have to find a BG color that works.

    But I’ll add another tip that I like: reading my own proof books. Before I send off my semi-polished text to professional editors or later to my Beta (“early”) readers, I like to do a read-through on paper in book form. I can edit all day long on-screen, but seeing how the words—and the story—flow on the printed page of an actual proof book (I usually do a couple of them) really brings problems to the surface. It’s cheap and easy to do with Amazon KDP.

    Just for fun (and because TikTok now has its own—weird—page-flipping sub-category), here’s me flipping the pages of such a proof book on YouTube (it’s 0:16 short!):

  12. Thanks, Harald – I always print the file during my self-editing process. Different way to see it. I use the proof for the print version of the book as one last check.

    • Yeah, I also do basic page printing early on, but also doing early proof books adds another dimension, I find. Also, this is mostly for Indie self-pubbers, but any author can set up a KDP account and do this.

Comments are closed.