At least I’m done the first round of edits. There are more to come once my editor has looked over the changes, but the process becomes significantly easier with each round, as problems are fixed and we narrow things down.
It is interesting getting feedback from editors on issues they find in a manuscript. I always learn something new to strengthen my writing craft.
This time around, my editor pointed out that I seemed to be using the word “grin” as if it meant a subtle smile, which is honestly what I thought it meant this whole time. When he told me it meant a broad, teeth baring smile I had to look it up in the dictionairy to make sure. I was rather embarrassed that I’d had this mistaken view of the word for so long. But I think I know why.
As a child, I never smiled much. Which meant adults were always trying to make me smile to prove a point. It’s quite possible that whenever my lips curved in the slightest degree a grown-up would point at me and hyperbolically say “I see that grin there!” And because that was the only context I had for the word, I grew up genuinely believing that “grin” meant an extremely faint smile.
I’m glad that my editor caught this in this particular manuscript, but I’ve published two novels already, so I’m having a mini heart attack now worrying about all the places in my already published work where my characters might be grinning like idiots when all I meant for them to do was casually smirk. Most of my characters are method actors, so subtlety is a big part of how I prefer to write them.
At least now I know better as I move forward with my future projects. But if you come across any out-of-place “grins” in my earlier works – for the record – I blame grown-ups.