Some authors think of edits as torture, a necessary evil. Me, I love edits. Oh, don't get me wrong, it hurts when my editors tell me to cut this sentence or even a paragraph. I worked hard over those words. The story is my baby, my life. I spent hours, days, weeks, even years laboring over it.
Sometimes I look at the manuscript and all I see is red. What the heck, it couldn't be that bad, could it? Is the editor picking on me?
One of the most important things to remember when doing edits is to keep an open mind. I like to paraphrase rather than use thoughts. That means I use the word she a lot. The reason I dislike thoughts, well two reasons, actually - 1. editors like to put thoughts into Italics. - I dislike italics - no, I hate italics. Nothing takes me out of a story worse than italics. They distract me and that's not something you want to do with a reader. Most of the books I've read about writing say- don't use them. (and I've read a lot of books on writing, Donald Maass for one). The other reason I don't like them is thoughts also distract me. So instead of writing, I hated when he does that, I write She hated when he did that. Eliminates the need for italics and I. To me it reads much better. However, my editor doesn't like all the shes. Okay I know I use a lot of them and truthfully, I don't see a problem with it. The sentences make sense. Readers know they're thoughts. They don't need italics to tell them. I try hard to avoid thoughts that need italics, but sometimes you just have to use them.
Okay, back to editing. As the author, you have the final say on your work. But don't be stubborn. Your editor is there to help you make your work the best it can be. I've seldom had to disagree with my editor. Most of the time I look at what she wants to delete or change and I agree. Sometimes, it's back story. Sometimes it's just unneeded information.
Another reason I like edits, it gives me a chance to change things that don't sound right to me or maybe add something that will add to the story - No, I'm not talking about pages or chapters. I'm talking about a sentence or two that might add tension or help clarify what you're talking about.
Once you're done with edits, you send them back to the editor. They might go back and forth several times before you both agree and are satisfied with the final manuscript. Ha, that's not the final manuscript at all. Now comes line edits. A different editor goes through what you and your content editor just agreed is the best manuscript. The line editor will go through line by line and suggest changes that are sometimes repetitive sentences etc. They also make sure all the commas, periods, and spelling is correct. If a sentence doesn't make sense to them, they'll suggest you change it. Again, it's your work, but keep an open mind. Think of the line editor as one of your readers. If she/he thinks it doesn't sound right, so will your reader. I seldom disagree with my line editor. Unless I have a character that speaks in a certain way,I'll usually take the suggestion.
Now comes the final galley. This is it. This is what your book is going to look like. This is your responsibility to make sure that every i is dotted and every t is crossed - so to speak. Look for spelling, commas, periods and yes, sometimes wrong words here or there. This is the last opportunity to make your book the best it's going to be. Final galleys aren't for changing sentences or paragraphs or adding to the story. Go through the final galley carefully. Even editors, no matter how good they are, miss things. A misspelled word, missing comma, etc. No one is perfect. It's the last polish before your editor sends the book off for publishing.
Think of edits as a way to improve your manuscript, not to destroy it. Editors want to work with you, not against you.