Rebecca here. 

Recently, after I gave an author their manuscript back after my first round of edits, they said something like “Whoa, I was not expecting so much red.” (I’m paraphrasing.)

Lots of red? Baby, when I edit, it’s a bloodbath. 

Disclaimer: I do not rewrite people’s stories. I do not try to change their style or voice or tone. But I would NOT be doing my job, or making use of my experience and education, if I gave a book a lazy edit. I will not do that–ever. Integrity is important to me, personally, and to Undertaker Books. Our authors deserve our full attention, and our full effort. We want to make their books–which are also OUR books–the best they can be.

And that means every manuscript that comes across my desk is going to get an FFE: A Full F*cking Edit. 

So here’s what I mean by that: First round is developmental edits. While I might mark other things, the focus of this edit is a hunt for plot holes, character inconsistencies, timeline mistakes, contradictions, and missing action/dialogue/description. This edit focuses on the story itself–the content, not the package. 

Then I give the manuscript back to the author, to accept the edits or problem-solve the issues with me. Once they have done so, they give it back to me, and then it’s time for line edits. 

Line edits involve looking at the packaging, or the prose itself. I read each line to make sure it sounds good–not clunky, not superfluous, not missing a word, not stocked with diction that doesn’t quite fit. Making sure the prose matches the author’s intended voice and style, both for the narrator/speaker and for each character’s dialogue. 

And the manuscript goes back to the author, again, for them to accept edits or problem-solve issues. 

Then the manuscript, which is pretty darn solid at this point, with a great story and beautiful prose, comes back to me for my final round: proofreading. 

Proofreading is looking for errors and typos. Here I fix misspellings, add forgotten capital letters, remedy grammar mistakes, eliminate extra spaces, etc. We want the text of our books to be as clean as possible, so readers can enjoy the stories without being distracted by a passel of mistakes. 

(I say “passel of mistakes,” because at least a couple typo gremlins will often fight their way through–I find a few typos in every published book I read, even from the big houses, because guess what? Their editors are human, too. So, while I promise to do my absolute best, please forgive the occasional missing comma or stray quotation mark.)

Here it is: in terms of process, our authors’ books will never get a half-assed edit. They will get an FFE, because they do not deserve any less. 

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