The Unbroken Rule
My editing capstone project was, as part of a team, to take a manuscript from developmental edits to finished, physical product in less than four months. Between the three of us, we each took charge of three stages of publishing: substantive edits, copy edits, and layout. I was in charge of copy edits. I assigned portions of the text to my teammates, complied the edits, and made decisions about which edits to keep. However, we always strove to make decisions as a team, and I feel like I learned a lot through that process. In the end, being able to hold a finished product in my hand was like a dream. I knew exactly what it had looked like before and understood how much effort went into making it. I had gone to the press to pick out paper, and I helped make the cover art choice. This project helped me to know that editing is my passion.
First off, I have to say what great students Michael, Holly, and Anika have been to work with. I have been so impressed with their communication and follow through, at their ideas, and with their tactfulness.
I have really enjoyed being a part of this project.
Each of them contributed. I enjoyed the back and forth commentary we had going on for certain "issues" in the manuscript. If they didn't understand something, they were clear in their concerns. Their fact checking was wonderful. Most of their feedback I incorporated immediately. As an author, there were a few things (like the ending) that I didn't want to change as suggested. In this case, we "bartered" ideas back and forth until we came up with a solution that worked for everyone. I felt it was very cooperative and collaborative.
One piece of feedback in particular that they gave me was an "aha" moment. They mentioned that I needed to show a precedence earlier in the manuscript for something that happens later in the book. It was exactly the right piece of advice. It significantly improved the suspension of the belief I was trying to create for my reader.
We had some good discussion about the book's title. From the get-go, I told the students I knew I had to change the title for a younger audience. (My book was originally written for YA audience, but it was now for a MG reader.) I could tell from their ideas, they had given the title a good amount of thought. Titles are hard, and I really was pleased with the exchange of ideas. In the end, we came up with a title that I feel works better for the audience and has significant meaning for the reader.
Just this week, they sent me some mock-ups for the cover. One of the designs jumped right out at me. I would have never thought of it myself, but it was engaging and really spoke to the message of the book. I'm really looking forward to seeing the final product.
I would wholeheartedly (and excitedly) participate with other students of yours in the future. They have been well taught.
Author, The Unbroken Rule