Q. How do you make sure that a manuscript is ready for an editor?
K.M. Weiland: I consider my editor–the fabulous CathiLyn Dyck–my “big gun.” She’s my last chance to fix problems, major and minor alike, before the book goes to print. So, except for proofreaders, she’s the last person to see the manuscript. Prior to that, my editing process goes something like this:
1. I edit the book three times myself.
2. Send the book to first-round (heavy-hitter) critique partners.
3. Make corrections.
4. Send to second-round (“nicer”) critters.
5. Make corrections, if necessary.
6. Send to second-round (heavy-hitter) critique partners.
7. Make corrections.
Then it’s off to the editor! My goal is always to have made the book as absolutely perfect as I’m capable of making it on my own. By this point, I’ve gotten enough feedback to know when certain plot elements are working and when they’re not, so there’s no excuse for thinking “well maybe this works–we’ll see what Cat thinks.”
At that point, I want to send in the manuscript that is exactly the way I think it should be–and then let her tear apart any remaining issues that don’t work. The tighter my manuscript, the tighter her edit can be. If she doesn’t have to focus on lots of big issues that I could have taken care of myself, then what she can focus on is helping me polish everything up to its highest possible sheen.
K.M. Weiland lives in make-believe worlds, talks to imaginary friends, and survives primarily on chocolate truffles and espresso. She is the IPPY and NIEA Award-winning and internationally published author of the Amazon bestsellers Outlining Your Novel and Structuring Your Novel, as well as Jane Eyre: The Writer’s Digest Annotated Classic. She writes historical and speculative fiction from her home in western Nebraska and mentors authors on her award-winning website Helping Writers Become Authors.