Kiss it Goodbye

When do you stop editing, kiss the book goodbye, and send it off to the reading world?
We were talking about prison one day, and one of my students asked, “Ed, I know you’re against prisons, but, well, what’s your answer? What do you do about crime?”
She wasn’t trying to trap me, she was very sincere.
Like the politician I once was, I kept talking without saying anything. The woman’s question stuck with me.
I put some ideas together and try to come up with a title, some of which were terrible:
Us and Them
Hold, Repair, Release
Delaney’s Hope
I settle on this last title two years in the future, however I pick Us and Them as a working title, and I begin to write. The book scares me. Can I get my idea across without any preaching? Can I really get into the mind of five criminals and make them come alive? Every two weeks I have a new chapter ready for my critique group. Do they cheer and pat me on the back? Most often, they tear the chapter to shreds. I go home and rewrite.
editingMy key editor is my daughter. She’s done post-grad work in English, but she approaches books as a reader, not as an academic. She corrects my grammar, she points out inconsistencies, and she slashes things that don’t work. I spend the year rewriting.
A major problem arises. I give the book to four wise and good friends. Call them beta-readers. They read the whole book and make comments. All four think I did a good job of portraying the back ground of the five key inmates in the book, but a disagreement arises. Two of the beta readers think the book is fine as is, but two think that the public will not like to know the inner workings of the sex-offender’s mind. After much soul searching, I agree with this latter group, and I rewrite and rewrite.
My daughter reads Delaney’s Hope for a second time and raises some concerns about the last dozen chapters. I rewrite.
I edit the book slowly myself, looking for the small errors: commas, capital letters, and mistaken words like to when it should have been too.
That’s where I am now, chapter 18 out of 33. I hope to be finished soon.
What is your editing process?
Images courtesy of: (have a look at this site)


3 responses to “Kiss it Goodbye

  1. I think writers, real writers are an amazing species. I find it hard to re-read my work, no less correct and edit it. Good on ya’ Ed. What are the plans for the Fall? Delora

    • Hi Delora
      Thanks for reminding me. I will feature the plans next week. Something radically new from me. Here it is:Ed Griffin is offering an incentive to all prospective writers who want to see what a writing course is all about. It’s called the Pay What You Can Program. For this term only, Ed is offering his Introduction to Creative Writing and his Creative Writing Seminar classes to a maximum of 15 students. Each student will pay what they can, either a lump sum at the beginning or cash/coins in the hat each week.

      The course descriptions are:

      Introduction to Creative Writing:
      It’s time to start writing: your life story, the novel you’ve dreamed about, the poetry and songs that are in your heart, the article you want to write, or perhaps a stage play. No more excuses. Learn the techniques to conquer your inner critic. Now is the time.

      The subjects covered will include: ways to unleash your creativity, character, plot, poetry, article writing, novels, short stories, marketing, and the rules of writing. Student work will occupy one half of class time.

      Cost: Pay What You Can Program (Old Price: $89). Course manual required and available from the instructor for $18.00.
      Instructor: Ed Griffin

      Time and date: 6 Mondays 10:00 am – Noon, September 16 – October 28 (no class on October 14)
      Place: The Phoenix Building, 13686 94A Avenue, Surrey, BC
      Limit: 15 students

      Creative Writing Seminar:

      Take your writing to the next level in this unique course where students workshop their works in progress with each other and the instructor. Each week, there will be instruction and discussion about some aspect of the writing craft.

      Cost: Pay What You Can Program (Old Price: $89)
      Instructor: Ed Griffin

      Dates and times: 6 Mondays 10:00 am – Noon, November 4 – December 16, 2012 (no class on November 11, 2013)
      Place: The Phoenix Building, 13686 94A Avenue, Surrey, BC
      Limit: 15 students
      For information on other courses, see

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