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Swoon Author Samantha Hastings' Editing Update: Going the Rounds

My first edit letter for The Last Word was 10 pages long! When I read for it the first time, it felt like a knockout punch. After I picked myself up off of the floor, I decided to focus on the edit letter one page at a time. I put on my metaphorical boxing gloves and began training.

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For Round 1, my incredible editor, Emily Settle—definitely my “corner man” in the writing ring—helped me clarify my character’s motivations and smooth out the romantic arc. She suggested that I break the romance into three acts that didn’t necessarily need to be equal in length. She also gave individual suggestions for each chapter. Thanks to her input, I ended up adding a couple of chapters and deleting 8,867 words!


I was “on the ropes” for Round 2 and moved on to line edits. “Line Edits” mean that instead of looking at the overall draft, I focused on each individual line. Emily asked me to add a line here, take a word out there, or expand a section that felt too abrupt. She used Track Changes in Microsoft Word and helped me see the small technical changes and her comments in the margins.

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By Round 3, I felt like an editing prizefighter. This draft included more “light” line edits and two medium-sized changes. One edit Emily requested was to remove “the flashback” and to have the narrative happen in chronological order.

About two weeks after I turned Draft 3 in, I got an email from Emily saying that I was going to copyediting. I was so glad that I hadn’t thrown in the towel. The editing process isn’t always easy and you’ll take some punches, but I’m so grateful that I went through the editing rounds. My book is now its best version yet. Time to do my Rocky Balboa victory dance!

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The Last Word goes on sale July 9, but it's available to preorder now! (And don't forget to add it to your Goodreads shelf!)

Author spotlight

Samantha Hastings

Samantha Hastings has degrees from Brigham Young University, the University of Reading (Berkshire, England), and the University of North Texas. …

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