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My Kindle Scout Kirkus Edit

By Lexi Revellian @LexiRevellian
My Kindle Scout Kirkus editOn Saturday I received the Kirkus-edited typescript of Time Rats 1. The editor says kind things in his summary about my plot, characterization and dialog - and also praises my accuracy in keeping track of time, a major concern when writing about time travel. But I have to say I was not expecting the massive number of edits, up to two dozen per page.

I'm pleased that Amazon allows me the final decision as to whether or not to accept the editor's advice. I always want to make changes that will improve the book. Many suggestions, however, I considered and rejected - this is my seventh novel, and I'm confident in my writing. I believe unnecessary edits run the risk of losing the writer's voice. 

Don't think I'm not grateful. I know how expensive a Kirkus edit is, it's extremely thorough, and I appreciate Amazon wanting - and paying for - Kindle Press books to be the very best they can be. It's good to have a professional pair of eyes going over my novel, and some of the notes I seized on with cries of glee - Jace doesn't have a penknife, then a page later he's looking for it. Duh. There's the occasional suggestion of more felicitous phrasing or a better word. I am ashamed to own up to an errant apostrophe. And I spelled tesserae wrong.

I am entirely confident this editor pored over every word, and no error escaped him. Had there been any plotholes, he'd have found them.

Suggestions I've ignored:

Americanization of my prose.

Dates and times as specified by the Chicago Manual of Style.

Chapter titles with capital letters - now, I use chapter titles because otherwise, the first thing the reader will see in the ebook sample is a boring list of Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3 etc.. Quirky titles for each chapter are more inviting. But capitalize them, and they become much harder to read. I don't want that.

Correcting colloquial speech in dialog. Replacing all brackets with dashes. Replacing many semi colons with full stops - I like semi colons, having acquired them in my youth from Mary Renault.

Replacing all third person observations from a character's POV with first person italics on a new line, as if it was silent speech, which in my opinion is just weird and reads strangely. Do any writers do this?

Padding my prose - inserting words like clearly, just, still, somehow, simply, even, though, really, usually, anyway. I've spent years decluttering my prose, dammit. Ready and waiting is not an improvement on waiting. Just enough is not better than enough. Aren't editors supposed to take this stuff out, not put it in?

Altering a sentence for no obvious reason, sometimes making it worse. Reading this example after Jace has removed the locked TiTrav from Quinn's wrist once he was dead, I began to entertain a dark suspicion that this editor is tinkering with sentences just because he can:

My version: “So how did you get it off Quinn, then?” Pause, while Floss realized how he had got it off Quinn, and imagined him doing it. “Oh.”

Editor's version: “So how did you get it off Quinn, then?” Floss paused as she realized how he had done it, and then visualized him doing it. “Oh.”
This was my first experience of a professional edit. Have any of you had one, and how was it?

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