Editing an Anthology: the Fun and the Painful
And we’re back, continuing the little story of Wings of Renewal. We have chosen our stories, written our acceptance and rejection letters, and all that’s left is the editing.
“All.” Like that was little.
It’s funny because I’m a published author. I rewrote Viral Airwaves a bunch of time as I wrote and revised and learned what it meant to write. I gave several novel-long critiques. Bref, I should have known the amount of time involved in editing a 130k-long product.
I still grossly underestimated it.
Lesson #1: Editing an anthology, like editing a novel, is a long, thorough, and hard process.
Lesson learned, damnit. But!
Lesson #2: Collaborating with authors on their short stories is incredibly fun and rewarding.
Something else I hadn’t accounted for. First, some authors replied to our comments with “no no, I’m keeping this one” or “you can have this one” (You know who you are haha), or left smiles everywhere Brenda and I had left excited comments about just how great a particular line or idea was. And that was fantastic! I loved the interaction.
That was the ‘fun’ part. The ‘rewarding’ one was rereading the short stories after the edits. While I had in the past seen changes brought according to my critiques … that was a whole new level of it? Or perhaps it was seeing it happen over and over in such a short period of time. That was exhilarating. How to put it?
All the thrill from discovering these stories during our first reads was coming back tenfold.
The awesome baby shorts we loved were growing up, in a way!
And I’m glad I had this incredible feeling to hang on to, because …
Lesson #3: I hate copy-editing.
The worst is, Brenda is the awesome person behind most of it. I write well, but English isn’t my first language, and I couldn’t for the life of me copy-edit the short stories. Getting better, but I’d have missed some, and everyone would have been sad.
Still, I gave a last read to the anthology, in case I could spot any mistakes and typos left. Took me ~3 days of solid work, and it was more than enough. Between that and formatting back and forth (you know that really “awesome” moment when you keep finding more problems) I was completely drained by the end of the week.
Drained in a “I don’t even want to look at this project again” way. But that’s okay. I’ve experienced that before with Viral Airwaves too.
All it means is that you’ve given everything you could and it’s time to step back.
So I’m still writing these posts (next week you get Brenda’s interview and mine!) and I’m still talking about solarpunk and Wings of Renewal elsewhere, but the anthology itself?
It is done, it is beautiful, and I am incredibly proud of it.