REVISION: Addressing Editorial Comments
It's never easy to read the editorial comments from a publisher. The comments below were a surprise because most of the stories in my collection "Creek Bait" had already been edited and published.
"I finished your collection and made notes and edits along the way. I can see why our readers liked your work, but as I stated before, there were so many problems with language and punctuation, it would be impossible to publish the collection without some thorough revisions. I cleared up many instances of punctuation and style issues, but I'm sure once you make the changes, someone else should go over it again. The subject matter and writing style of the stories were so varied. Some stories I liked more than others. In general, I like to publish collections that have a unified style or theme. I would suggest looking at the entries a bit closer and see which ones belong to this collection and which don't. One story, I marked, needs more work and a better ending. The final story also needs a bit more explanation about who The Padre was and why he was so defeated, or so it seems. In general, I tried to make the dialog flow better and took out a lot of the attributions. I thought the story about the singing cowboy doesn't fit and perhaps you have another story to replace it with. At times, I also felt that the titles needed to be thought over to closer reflect what the story is about. Sometimes, I couldn't make the connection. But, please read over my comments and let me know if you have any questions. I hope these edits and revisions make the manuscript stronger."
After the initial shock wore off I studied each comment to make sure I understood what had to be addressed--overall the comments were not as bad as I thought. During this phase I had an opportunity to make any changes I felt were needed. I hadn't read some of the stories in years and was able to give each of them a close read.
The major editorial change I made was to cut four stories and add three new ones that fit the thematically linked pieces about characters who escaped from life. Some succeeded, others faced heartbreak, and the lucky ones found redemption. The new stories fit well and definitely strengthened the collection. I also retitled two stories which turned out to be harder than I expected.
Once I had completed the above changes, I broke the collection into three sections of about 40 pages each. Then using Grammarly and ProWriting Aid as editing tools, I uploaded each section and saved it. Having completed that part of the editorial process I used Word’s compare changes document feature and saved the combined file then incorporated all those changes into the master document.
I know there are probably some writers who don’t like the idea of using software programs as aids in their writing. I found both programs very helpful, particularly with the style and grammar features such as flagging passive and active voice, wordiness, and something called sticky which highlighted the sticky sentences that slow a reader down. The two programs even flagged some things that both the editor and I editor. A word of caution here. The two programs are very useful tools, but will never take the place of a real live editor.
It will be a few weeks before I hear back from the publisher.