S.G. Browne

The Writing Life: Edits, Edits, Edits

So I’m in the process of doing edits on my third novel, Lucky Bastard. These edits are based on feedback and notes from my editor at Simon & Schuster and about a 90-minute phone conversation spread out over a couple of days which ended up with me writing down about four pages of notes.

And you thought writing the book was the tough part.

Right now, I’m on my third pass through the manuscript over the past three weeks, making edits based on all of this feedback. So far, including the two rounds of edits the novel went through before I gave it to my writers group and the two additional rounds of edits it went though before I sent it to my agent and the round of edits I did based on her feedback before it even went to my editor, that makes eight passes through the book I’ve done so far. I’ll have another round of line edits, copy edits, then proof page edits, bringing the grand total of full manuscript edits up to eleven before the book goes to press.

It better not have any mistakes in it, that’s all I have to say.

The process wasn’t a whole lot different with Breathers or Fated. Both of them probably went through close to ten rounds of edits before the books hit the shelves. And every time I do a round of edits, I read the complete manuscript.

That’s the thing no one tells you and that you don’t realize when you start down this path of writing: before your book gets published, you’re going to end up reading it a dozen or more times before it hits the shelves. So you better like what you’ve written because you’re going to be spending a lot of time with it.

It’s kind of like choosing a partner. Or your friends. You better choose wisely because if it turns out you don’t enjoy their company, then you’re going to get sick of them pretty fast.

Filed under: Lucky Bastard,The Writing Life — Tags: , , — S.G. Browne @ 7:38 am


  1. Whew! That’s a lot of work…glad I’m not a writer. I get stuck with editing my son’s blog…not because I was “hired” and I am certainly not an expert! It’s only because some mistakes of his that I read, I just cannot let go. He always thanks me though.

    I recently read an ebook I purchased on Amazon (being sold there by the author). Even though the story was enjoyable, it was chock full of errors that made me wonder just who edited it or if any editing was done at all. The one thing that bothered me the most was the writer used the word “then” when the correct word to use was “than”. Drove me nuts!!! (Oh, and this writer has a blog and incorrectly uses “then” for “than” in the blog too!)

    So……MANY THANKS to you for all the hard work involved beyond actually writing a great book!

    Comment by Peggy — June 2, 2011 @ 7:54 am

  2. That’s actually one of my thoughts about books that are self-published. It’s not just the punctuation and grammar errors that I catch in all of these rounds of edits, but content issues that help with the story. Plus working with a professional editor improves my novels in ways that I wouldn’t have imagined.

    Thanks for the comment and the kind words, Peggy. And thanks for reading.

    Comment by admin — June 2, 2011 @ 10:22 am

  3. I cannot wait for this book! I don’t even need to know what it is about, I will still buy it because I love your books! I’m not a big fan of reading (I usually don’t have time to read, or I don’t feel like reading when I do have time.) but I can’t put your books down! When I start them, I have to finish them.
    The first book I read, from you, was “Fated”. I was standing in a bookstore looking for a different book entirely. I don’t know why, but the word “Fated” just popped out at me, so I picked it up, I read the first chapter, and I bought the book. Than, once I finished it, (Within the second day of me buying it) I of course went back and bought “Breathers”, and I love them both!
    Your idea’s are just brilliant, and these books should be made into movies, or something! Tell Hollywood to “Get on it!”


    Comment by Jonathan — August 25, 2011 @ 12:26 am

  4. Thanks for the love, Jonathan. And I agree. They should be made into movies. Preferably good ones.

    Comment by admin — August 25, 2011 @ 3:09 pm

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