Editing the Rewritten Word

A few months ago, I had a new experience in editing. I edited The Rewritten Word: How to Sculpt Literary Art, No Matter the Genre by Aggie Villanueva.

Last year about this time, I reviewed Aggie’s novel Rightfully Mine and also conducted an interview with her. We got to know each other better throughout the year, so she contacted me when she was working on The Rewritten Word.

The book is described this way:

The only How-to-Write book that has nothing to do with writing. It’s all about rewriting. Whittle away what buries the art of your words beneath pulp, no matter the topic, no matter the genre.

You can see that this job could be slightly intimidating. I have come to respect and admire Aggie and her talent, so I knew I would be editing an already-excellent manuscript. And the book I was editing was about how to make your writing better, which is also what editing is all about.

I’m not going to get into the similarities and differences between rewriting and editing. I’ll be interviewing Aggie later this week, and I’ll ask her to talk about that. What I’m going to focus on is the way Aggie and I worked together. In addition to editing the manuscript, I also formatted the book for print and ebook editions. My comments below relate to the entire project.

Our collaboration was both a pleasure and a success:

  • We each respected the other’s expertise. I recognized and maintained Aggie’s voice. As I do with all my clients, I tried to make her work sound exactly like her—only better. In turn, she was very open to suggestions. Rather than getting defensive about her own words, she considered every suggestion and agreed with changes that improved the book.
  • We stayed in communication. She kept me informed of deadlines and questions, and I kept her apprised of my progress.
  • We each recognized our part in the finished product. The book is completely Aggie’s—she had the final say over every word, and it’s her voice you “hear” when you read the work. However, she appreciated what I did to help bring those words and that voice out in the best possible way.
  • We each honored our commitments. Aggie got the manuscript to me on time and responded to my questions promptly, and I carried out my obligations and met deadlines.

It really sounds simple, doesn’t it? And it is easy when you’re working with a writer and person of Aggie’s caliber.

In the book, Aggie talks about working with editors. I’d say she knows what she’s talking about!

Be sure to come back Friday to read the interview with Aggie.

Disclosure: I received compensation from the author for editing, laying out the book, and creating the electronic editions. I have received no compensation for writing about the book or interviewing the author on my blog. I’m sharing with my readers because I love the book and think they will too. The links to Amazon.com are affiliate links.

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