Another Glamorous Day of Editing Awaits

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

I’m editing.

Applying the lessons of my current novel, Crazy of Natural Causes, I’m taking my time more with the next one, Forgive Us Our Trespasses. It’s a balance. In order to eliminate mistakes, I take my time. In order to get it out as soon as possible, I hurry.

This time I’m stressing the former more.

By Monte Dutton
By Monte Dutton

A lot of the process is just approving the edits that have been provided me. The “###” at a chapter’s end being centered. The first paragraph of a chapter being flush left, while the rest is indented. In some places, Denny Frawley is solicitor of the Third District. In others, it is the Third Circuit. It’s fiction. It doesn’t matter which one it is. It just matters that they all be the same.

I’m really appreciative of the work of the editor, perhaps editors, at Kindle Press. My manuscript is marked up with all sorts of insightful changes, often citing specific style references. Many comments present options. It’s not intrusive. It’s constructive. I do a lot of head shaking, muttering something like, “Yeah, she’s right.”

It’s been about eight months since I went through this same process. It’s gotten better. The KindleScout program has gotten better. This is my second winner, or selection, or gig, or whatever it is. As I can see that KindleScout has gotten better, I’m happy I’m good enough to still be in it.

No telling how great it would be if this novel became a big seller. I’m not selfish. It doesn’t have to be a bestseller. I’d settle for a big seller. For now.

I’m not sure whether or not I edited Crazy the same way. I’ve probably gotten a bit more doctrinaire. First, I go through the edits, approving ninety-five percent of them and rejecting the others. Occasionally, some rewriting is involved. That’s particularly tedious in this one because a major change is taking a recurring correspondence, a blog, and toning down the slang a bit. The way it is written is crucial to its pertinence to the story, so I was initially a bit reluctant to undertake this. I had written it the way I did for a reason. Once I examined it, though, I realized that the jargon made it difficult to read, and I’ve determined that it can be cleaned up quite a bit without losing its effectiveness.

Phase One is about two thirds completed. This week has been a blur. Between editing Trespasses, and working on the first draft of Cowboys Come Home, the fifth and next fiction project, and going out to write about local basketball games, and completing two NASCAR columns, it’s left me a bit overwhelmed.

Phase Two is tricky. It will involve adding observations, a paragraph here and there, mostly at the suggestion of the editor(s). What makes this tricky is similar to what would happen if a man could go back in time, knowing that his actions back there could affect his status when, or if, he returns to the present. An author’s simple changes can have unintended impacts.

The completion of my fourth novel. It's out there. (Monte Dutton photo)
The completion of my fourth novel. It’s out there. (Monte Dutton photo)

If that leaf in Chapter Eleven had fallen the other way, why, in Chapter Twenty-Three, that bomb would have exploded, and, in Chapter Twenty Seven, it wouldn’t be necessary to murder Leopold because he’d already be dead!

Relax. There isn’t really a Leopold. The above was fiction. A different fiction.

Another problem with editing is that one can never do enough. I know that, even though the editor(s) and I have reviewed, determined, inserted, deleted, italicized, accepted, rejected, centered, replaced, and stopped to wonder how in hell that got in the manuscript, in many paragraphs and pages, the moment will arrive, when I get that published copy and start reading feverishly, in which I discover something that slipped through, and something will slip through, and the only appropriate action will be to pop a fistful of Tums to quell the acid rising in the pit of the throat.

Nothing makes me happier than writing, which is why I have insisted upon doing it for so long. I wish I could cultivate the same love for editing, but I can’t. It’s tedious.

It’s necessary. I’m going to get it done soon, so that the release can be targeted, and I can get on with my life, which involves getting this diabolical process completed so that I can spend more time on another.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

                I hope any enjoyment you derive from this story will lead you to my KindleScout novel that isn’t about your everyday football coach, Crazy of Natural Causes.

(Melanie Ryon cover design)
(Melanie Ryon cover design)

                The Intangibles is set in a small Southern town during 1968, when times were changing and passions were high.

                The Audacity of Dope is a yarn about a pot-smoking songwriter who takes off on a plane one day and lands a national hero, which does not at all please him.

(Joe Font cover design)
(Joe Font cover design)

                Soon. Very soon. A crime novel about a corrupt prosecutor pitted against a good cop in another small Southern town, only this one being right now. The title is Forgive Us Our Trespasses.

                This very day I’m working on what will be my fifth novel, a modern western called Cowboys Come Home.

                Take a look at from time to time. You’ll find my non-fiction observations there. Thanks a heap for reading me.



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