Sweeney Todd, or Gutting the Beast

Anne_Anderson05 - Beauty sat down to dinner with the Beast illustration PDArt - Wikimedia CommonsThis is the 3rd and final installment in the series “WORD, A Shifty Beast,” which focuses on helping you get the most out of using Microsoft WORD as your word-processing program when writing a novel.

You have saved all your raw files in a folder labeled in such a way that you know it contains your background work. You have formatted your final manuscript exactly the way the chosen editor’s submission guidelines want. You sent in the work to the highly rated  Sweeney Todd Editing Services and Sweeney loves it!

You came to an agreement regarding payment, and you paid the first half of the editing fee. NOW you are waiting for your first email, containing those dreaded revision requests. At last the email arrives and you see one or two attachments. The email may or may not be encouraging, some editors are very businesslike and some are chatty.

The first thing you discover is that Sweeney Todd has brutally dismembered your carefully formatted manuscript into its separate chapters, and named the files according to his system. You will now use his system for naming your files. Let’s say Sweeney sent you two files:

Elf Madness-JDoe-ch1-ST edit rnd 1.docx

Elf Madness-JDoe-ch2-ST edit rnd 1.docx

This file name says: Your book–your author name–chapter–editor name-round one.  

You will create a new folder within your Elf Madness folder, this one titled EM Rnd1 Edits S.Todd, and you will save the chapters that Sweeney has sent you in this folder. They will remain exactly the way Sweeney sent them so that you can refer back to them if needed.

Now, inside the EM Rnd1 Edits S.Todd folder you will create a new folder, this one titled EM Rnd1 Edits JD complete. This sub-folder is where you will save the first round of your revisions.

Next you will open the first file Sweeney sent you, Elf Madness-JDoe-ch1-ST edit rnd 1.docx. You will immediately click ‘SAVE AS’ and you will save it as Elf Madness- ch1- rnd 1 edit JDoe complete .docx.

NOW you are ready to make your revisions as your editor has requested.

Unfortunately, this is where you find yourself looking at a sea of red or blue with your stomach churning, and fear and loathing in your heart. There is a column on the right hand side of the manuscript and it is chock full of comments, not all of them complimentary.

With a sense of disbelief you realize your beautiful manuscript was not perfect!

Prnt scrn editng tab for WORD

This is the first step to becoming a real author.

Now you will address each comment individually:

  1. On the ribbon at the top of the page, click on the Review Tab:
  1. Prnt scrn editng tab for WORD 1
  2. Next, click on the comment to highlight it. This way you can see exactly what it pertains to, and you can make that correction. Make the correction
  3. With the comment highlighted, click the Delete button, and that comment will go away. Continue doing this all the way through the chapter.

Prnt scrn editng tab for WORD 3

Suddenly, you have come to a place, where what you have written is what you want to keep – “OH NO!!!” But all is not lost. Leave Sweeney’s comment there and highlight the part you want to keep. At the top of the page, click ‘New Comment.’ In the comment box that will open below Sweeney’s comment, explain why you want that particular thing to stay. When your editor opens that file for the second round of edits, he will see what you said, and will proceed accordingly.

Prnt scrn editng tab for WORD 4

You will attach the revised file to an email and return it to Sweeney promptly. This way he will see you are serious about your book. He will take your revised file, and that will be the basis for the next round of editing. This will be repeated until you have completed to entire process according to your agreement with Mr. Todd.

This is the way the editing process that I have been involved in works.  My editors NEVER make changes in my manuscript for me–they make suggestions and I am responsible for making those changes and sending the revisions back to them. I’ve experienced this process both ways, and having an editor who goes in and makes  changes and doesn’t show you what those changes are, OR ask your opinion regarding those changes is simply NOT acceptable. I will never again allow such a thing to happen to my work.

I currently have 3 manuscripts in the editing mill. I find it’s like getting a tattoo—it hurts like hell and you can’t wait until it’s over, but before it has even healed, you’re already planning your next one. (Do you like my Tolstoy tattoo?)

I hope this series on how an author can use Microsoft WORD has helped you get your own manuscript ready for the submission process. It is the most commonly used word-processing program and is actually not too difficult to learn the basics of.  Every word-processing program has a learning-curve, and some programs, while free, don’t offer an author or the editor the ability to do the simple things WORD does.  Most editors agents and publishers only accept WORD files, if they are accepting electronic submissions.



Filed under Battles, Books, Fantasy, Humor, Literature, Uncategorized, writer, writing

3 responses to “Sweeney Todd, or Gutting the Beast

  1. Oh that sinking feeling accompanied by a sea of red! Yep, been there too 🙂


  2. “Brutally dismembered”?? I did no such thing – it was done in a very gentle and loving way! 😉
    I do know that feeling when faced with a sea of comments down the right side of the page as well though. However, I don’t actually mind being edited as I know the end result will be worth it.