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Editing Can Be Murder

Sometimes editing feels like murder—without the blood, guts, and going to jail, of course. But you often have to “kill your darlings.” An awful term that means you cut out some of your FAVORITE parts from the manuscript to make it better. It’s not easy. But it’s worth it.

Before my first book, The Last Word, I was a very hesitant with the editing knife.


I would take out a line or two, even a scene, but never a whole chapter. When I received my first edit letter, my editor’s instructions were to delete a couple chapters and write new ones. It was a bloody revision, but after a few new chapter transfusions it was a much better story.

When it came to editing, The Invention of Sophie Carter, I was ready to get my hands dirty. I took feedback from beta readers, alpha readers, and critique partners.

The manuscript went through over a dozen major edits, including where I rewrote the second half of the book before it was accepted for publication.

Even after all of that manuscript blood spilt, my editor still wanted a few more changes and additions.


Don’t be afraid of getting your hands dirty in the editing process. And if you’re having difficulty deciding what to do with the dead bits, I always keep a separate document entitled “Taken Out Text” where I copy and paste the deleted words. That way they’re not really gone, the extra words are simply no longer taking up breathing room in your manuscript.

“Who says that murder’s not an art?” It certainly is in editing.

The Invention of Sophie Carter goes on sale July 14, but it's available to preorder now! (And don't forget to add it to your Goodreads shelf!)

Author spotlight

Samantha Hastings

Samantha Hastings has degrees from Brigham Young University, the University of Reading (Berkshire, England), and the University of North Texas. …

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