Mar 26, 2010

The Editing Process

by Joan Sowards

My novel Chocolate Roses is scheduled for release shortly. This love story is about a chocolatier who makes her goodies from scratch, or from the cacao bean. It is also a Jane Eyre, LDS parody.

As explained in Chocolate Roses, the process of preparing chocolate is lengthy. First the cacao bean is roasted, then cracked and winnowed—the husks are blown off/removed. Next, the nibs and sugar are ground for hours on end into cocoa liqueur, then the chocolate is conched and refined. Last of all, it’s tempered into chocolate that can be molded into beautiful products ready for savoring.

My novel Chocolate Roses has been dragged through this process. Today we finish—I hope—the last edits and it is to meet the printer this afternoon.

Years ago Covenant Communications published a 7,000-word short story I wrote entitled “The Last Gift of Christmas.” The editing process included adding commas, removing commas, and changing a few words for clarification. Simple.

Haunts Haven’s editing was more complicated with a few additions to the story, major “he said—she said” tag debates, tug-of-war over adverbs, refining sentences. When we finished, I felt confident that Haunts Haven was a product I could be proud of.

My editor, Linda, is one of the most congenial people I’ve met. I figure editors naturally become so in order to persuade overprotective authors to change their prose.

Chocolate Roses’ editing felt like a whole different refining process. It is harder to say specifically what the issues were, but resembled more the process of refining the cacao bean. Writing the novel was the roasting stage. Then, for a very busy week, we crunched the manuscript, sending it back and forth through Cyperspace, winnowing a lot of typos, grinding it with sugar—or improving sentences—for hours on end, then conching, refining, and tempering it into a beautiful format ready to be marketed.

It is also a learning process, and very pulverizing.

Now, where did I put that chocolate bar?


  1. MMMMMM...I can't wait to read your book! (while I eat chocolate truffles of course!) I love the analogy. I did a research on the history of chocolate a few years back. Fascinating stuff!

  2. that definitely makes me want to eat chocolate!

  3. Ok now I've got to hunt up my Easter chocolate and have some.

  4. Ok now I've got to hunt up my Easter chocolate and have some.


Thank you for visiting. Feel free to comment on our blogger's posts.*

*We do not allow commercial links, however. If that's not clear, we mean "don't spam us with a link to your totally unrelated-to-writing site." We delete those comments.