Swoon Author Sandy Hall: The Editing Process Isn’t So Scary After All

If I were to make a list of my favorite things it would include guacamole, Essie’s For the Twill of It nail polish, Netflix, and my iPhone. Editing would not make the cut.

While I love the writing process, and I love what the first draft becomes after a round of edits, the actual editing process is tedious to me. Sometimes it’s like my brain just rejects the whole idea.

The good news is that I really like RE-writing. When it’s time to start a second draft, I always create a nice, new document and start typing the whole novel over from the beginning. This way, I can fool myself into believing that I’m not editing, I’m just writing again.

My brain is dumb and it falls for this trick every time.

When I started the rewriting process for A Little Something Different, I knew it was going to be a mammoth task. Luckily, I have the wonderful Holly West for an editor and she made the whole thing seem less daunting. It helps that her editing style complements my writing style.

So even though on the inside I felt like this:

With Holly’s beauty of an edit letter in hand, it was easy to sit down and start my revisions right away, like this:

The hard part for me was coming to terms with aging Lea down two years. I knew that it made sense from a marketing standpoint, but I knew Lea at twenty going on twenty-one. I had to go back and learn about her at eighteen and nineteen. People often assume cutting the points of view from twenty-three to fourteen was difficult, but for me, it was really taking Lea from nearly an adult back to a teenager.

As for the cutting down of POVs, that was made easier thanks to three things:

  1. All of the great feedback from the community. There were plenty of comments that pointed me in that direction.
  2. I got to make all new index cards! (I shouldn’t be so excited about this, but I’m really not exaggerating about my passion for office supplies.)
  3. The invention of Gabe’s brother Sam. Once I decided to put him into the story and give him a say in Gabe’s life, everything started falling into place.

Getting from the first draft to the final draft was easier than I had expected, but I think that’s because I went into it prepared for the absolute worst and ended up pleasantly surprised. It helped that it all happened really fast I think. Considering I found out I had gotten the Swoon contract and then received my edit letter within the span of a few hours, I couldn’t psych myself out too much.

All in all, it was an incredible learning experience for me and I enjoyed every minute of it. Well, except maybe not those 5:45 a.m. wake up calls to get an hour’s worth of editing done before work. Looking back, the end product was definitely worth it and I’ve finally stopped having anxiety-fueled stress dreams about editing. In one of them, my pass pages were on fire under my bed. It was terrible.

And when I was totally finished, I partied down like Ron Swanson.

Author spotlight

Sandy Hall


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