Writers wear a whole lot of hats, and lately, I’ve been getting a chance to try on every one of them.
Recently, it was the editing hat. I got the copy edits for “Wild, Wild Death,” book #8 in the Pepper Martin mystery series. My editor at Berkley Prime Crime had already been over the manuscript. Once he was done, a copy editor (usually a freelancer) got the manuscript.
Theoretically, a copy editor doesn’t make changes, and luckily, it was true this time. It’s not always so. I’ve run into a whole bunch of copy editors who want to be writers and who take the opportunity of going over my manuscript to make it sound the way they would if it was their manuscript.
But I digress.
Good or bad, thorough or too-thorough, edits are still edits, and for reading the copy edits, a writer needs one special hat. It’s the one that helps us thing logically–and dispassionately. I may love the sound of a sentence or an image I’ve come up with. But if a reader doesn’t understand it, if it’s muddy or unclear or serves as filler rather than moving the plot along, it needs to go. A good copy editor will find those things. A good writer will be willing to argue keeping them in when it’s necessary–and cut them when it’s not.
When I was done with that project, I changed hats and got back to outlining Pepper Martin mystery #9. I’ve got a November deadline for this book, and no time to waste. This is the part of the creative process where my brain can run free. I can explore all options, no matter how outlandish, try different things, create characters and situations and solutions. Oh yeah, it’s all about imagination and for this, I need my thinking cap.
That done, I put on my writing hat and started into the story. By the way, the book needs a title and I’d like to include the word “super” in it if possible. I welcome all your suggestions!