I finally got my NaNo novel edits in the mail yesterday! Though my finals schedule is actually not too bad, I have a ridiculous amount of work to do, so I told myself that I would not open the envelope until Tuesday. Four hours later found me reading the opening editor letter and peeking at the first few edits. Obviously, when I tell myself something, I stick to it :p
For new readers (or those who have forgotten), I sent off my novel in January to two people. One girl has apparently disappeared into thin air, but the other person, my friend Nicole, actually did what she said she would. And extremely well, too!
The first great thing about her editing job is that we edit in a very similar style, so I understand how she's working. Because of this, I understand that a comment that seems bruque is probably not meant that way because a) it's not speaking, so you can't always read tone and b) she's been editing for so long by page 43 that it's just a waste of time to write little smiley faces or whatever. Because I do the same thing, I know not to take what the comments say too hard.
The editing is quite thorough. I had especially wanted her to edit it because she is English and my book takes place in London. I did a lot of research, but with all her corrections, it looks like I did nothing. For example, I did extensive investigating on Nancy Drew books, as I wanted my MC to be into those books. But while these books were published in the US in 1930- giving my 1940's MC plenty of time to get into them- they didn't appear in the UK until 1971! Nicole also told me that there were no Episcopalians in the UK at that time, which was a problem since one of my characters stated that she and her family were "vaguely Episcopalian." Another thing I didn't know- like Americans, they measure height in feet and inches. All that metric conversion for nothing!
Though I made efforts to make the book as un-American as possible, there were a few things that slipped through the cracks. For example, I didn't know that "honey" (as a term of endearment) and "grocery shopping" were Americanisms. It's "letter box", not "mail slot", principals are "headmasters" (I was unaware this was for all schools in England), "porridge" not "oatmeal", and it's always "half past five", not "five thirty." Thanks to my editor, my novel is becoming much less American!
Nicole's comments are a great balance of encouraging and factual. Her corrections are phrased in such a way that tell me what I need to do to improve without making me want to cry or sugarcoating it to the point where I distrust her opinion. Reading her editor letter, I completely agreed with pretty much everything that was said, and over the summer, I plan to do some serious overhaul on this story, because I really do love it. Though I was eager for Nicole to send me her edits, it's a really good thing that I've been distanced from my novel since the end of January. I haven't allowed myself to reread any parts of the story since I sent it off because I want to look at it with fresh eyes now, four months later. Hopefully by next Wednesday, I'll have a little excerpt to share!