Friday, April 6, 2012

The Editing Process is Much Like Sticking a Pencil in Your Eye

by Harlow Coban

I had no idea the editing process would be so excruciatingly painful. Don’t get me wrong, I knew there’d be revisions, but I was unprepared for the magnitude of the revisions.

When my copyeditor returned my manuscript to me, she had deleted some 8,000 words from a 33,000 word novella. So like any normal person, I contemplated suicide in various and sundry ways:
1. Jump off the roof.
2. Crash through the gates of Area 51 going 100 mph and snap pictures.
3. Lie down in an aisle at a crowded movie theatre and yell, “Fire!”
4. Light a match while pumping gas.
5. Be a guest star on the original Star Trek, wear a red shirt, and go on an away mission with Captain Kirk.
6. Be an actor in one of the Scream movies and investigate every noise I hear.
7. Hold up a gun shop.
In all seriousness, I cried for 24 hours, sought comfort in my favorite foods (spaghetti, garlic bread, and chocolate cake), and started two-fisted drinking. In my stupor, I had an epiphany: I’d get a second opinion and if the second copyeditor agreed with the first, I’d make the revisions.
Well, the second copyeditor agreed with the first and even took it a step further. She asked me to search and destroy all instances where I used “was” and change the tense on all the “ing” words. This was (yes, I used “was”) a ridiculously tedious exercise. I promised God if I got through it, I’d be more mindful of my use of these words.
The editing process is painful, but my book is much, much better because of it.

Sure, I’d take another pencil in the eye if it meant I’d turn out better quality work.

Blurb Life in Death: When a girl that social worker Kari Marchant places in foster care is brutally murdered, she’s compelled to learn why. Her quest for the truth pits her against friends and coworkers. As Kari works to solve the horrific plot, more people die. She’s been targeted for death and she doesn’t even know it. How far should she go to learn the truth—even if it threatens her life?

When homicide detective Rance Nicolet meets Kari, his attraction to her is powerful—and the feeling is mutual. But things between them go terribly wrong when Kari’s old lover is found murdered with a letter from her in his pocket. The evidence against Kari is damning. Rance’s personal and professional lives collide. Does he blindly believe the woman he’s falling in love with or follow the evidence no matter where it leads?

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Author Harlow Coban was born in Kansas City, MO, but grew up in Denver, CO. She relocated to North Carolina five years ago with her husband, two dogs, and 16-year old twins.

She shares a birthday with the notorious Napoleon Bonaparte. In keeping with his legacy, she is currently working on taking over the world. Harlow’s positive attitude and fresh take on life are her tools and conquest is certain.

She spends her free time writing, dancing, traveling and defending mailboxes from her 16-year-old twins’ driving.

Her debut novel, LIFE IN DEATH (February 2012), is a murder mystery which pulls from real-life situations from her own family history. She felt compelled to share her story with the world while offering a thrilling, entertaining, and amusing escape for readers.

In keeping with her commitment to improving the lives of children, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of her book will be donated to the Boys and Girls Club in her home state of North Carolina.

She loves to connect with her readers and can be found on Twitter (@HarlowCoban), Facebook (!/pages/Harlow-Coban/174596219285270), Goodreads ( and her website (



The authors will be giving away one prize at every stop which may include (but isn’t limited to):

Amazon Gift Cards
Book Lover Note Cards
Kindle Cover
Book Tote
Hunger Games Trilogy

Additionally, she’ll be awarding a $50 Amazon GC to the host whose stop has the most comments (excluding the author’s and the host’s).


Mary Preston said...

You poor darling!!

Your list of ways to commit suicide had me in stitches. Having just watched an episode of Star trek last night, I could picture you in peril.

I'm glad to see you came out the other side intact.


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting Harlow today.

Harlow Coban said...

Chris, thank you so much for hosting me!

Marybelle, thanks for dropping by. I'd forgotten (the memory's the first to go) I'd written this post and had a pretty good chuckle myself this morning. Thanks so much for the support.

Have a good Easter.

MomJane said...

I loved your methods of suicide. I tried to think of others, but couldn't come up with anything nearly as funny as yours.

I am really glad you decided to stay around and get the story published.

Catherine Lee said...

Oh No! You've contemplated too many ways of knocking yourself off. Editing is wicked painful, isn't it? Of course, the most lethal way of dying that you listed there is going on an away mission with Jim Kirk! LOL.

catherinelee100 at gmail dot com