Good writing can’t be done in one draft. For the past week, I’ve been reviewing the edits to my novel Joey’s War—The Path to Power. It’s a crime novel about a young man who is going to take over La Costa Nostra in New York City. The person who edited it, a Jami Carpender of Red Pen Girl in Bend, Oregon, did a fine job. She found those pesky little mistakes I have missed over the years and touched up the book to where it’s ready to send out to literary agents and smaller publishers who accept unsolicited manuscripts.

When I speak at schools, I ask students how many times they think I edited Yalu and the Puppy Room. I ask for a show of hands when I say once.

All the hands go up.

I say five times.

Some hands go down, most stay up.

Ten times.

Most hands are down.

I tell the kids that I edited the book thirty-five times and it only comes out to six pages when it’s in Word. If the truth be told, I could probably edit it more. That makes me the hero of every teacher I meet.

The editing process can sometimes make me shake my head and wonder how I could have missed the trivial mistake in front of me. I would type the following line: “The dog jumped over the fence over the fence” and not see the second over the fence for a few edits. Thankfully, I have a program called NaturallySpeaking that had a read back feature where I follow along as it reads. This helps find most of the mistakes and improves my writing as a whole.


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