Two edits do not make a right

two editsWho watches the watchmen?

As early feedback comes in from my previewers (as opposed to reviewers), it has once again become apparent to me that the old adage about two wrongs has vastly wider potential than its common use.  For example, within my editing process, I run a pass through the book to clean it up.  Then I run a pass through the book to tighten it up.  Finally, before I send it to the previewers, I run a pass through the book to clean it up again.  Should be pretty darn ship-shape by then, eh?

Except, who edits my edits?  More specifically, what happens when the edit itself creates the need for an edit?  This is occasionally the case (not often, thankfully) when I am correcting a passage or rewriting a block of dialogue.  The same errors that I corrected in the edit pass I was working on could creep into the new edit and I might miss it on my quick re-read.

For the most part, those mistakes are few, but they occur often enough to vex me.  It’s not embarrassing so much as it is annoying.  It’s a self-inflicted flaw, made possible only because I rushed through the edit and assumed I was typing correctly.  There are some cardinal rules to editing and not assuming anything is right up there.  By definition, it’s lazy and likely to be dangerous to the final result.

Prompted by the heads-up on the miscue, I did another pass over the book and found a few more edits.  No more like the above, but enough for me to send out a revised preview copy.  I realize I was ignoring my own advice and experience (and blog post, as mentioned here), which was to make sure the book was flawless even if it meant missing the deadline for January.

I assure you I won’t repeat that mistake.  Two edits may not make a right, but I’ll make it right no matter how many edits it takes!

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