It’s the one word that makes a writer’s skin crawl…at least for most people it is. After pouring your own blood, sweat and tears into your manuscript, after dedicating hours and hours of your life, it’s now time to review what you’ve written and butcher it.
And I mean butcher.
Editing is brutal.
But it needs to be.
If you look at your first draft and then at your final one, the journey of your manuscript is incredible.
And if this is something you can on your own, then why do you need an editor? Best to save those bucks, right?
It’s not just the peace of mind thing but the way your brain can sometimes feel scrambled with everything that’s going on in your story. When you plant a clue for your detective but he never finds it. When you introduce a character for a very particular reason but he gets lost somewhere in the story. It’s all those finicky things you find in books you read that make you say ‘hey, that was pretty clever’.
So yes an editor is very important.
And if you’re lucky enough to find the right editor, then your book will be so much better because of it.
I’m not talking about proofreading. Proofreading is something anyone and everyone can do. We all have a basic understanding of the English language (or our own languages), so proofreading is a fairly basic tool.
Understanding how story works, the importance of plot and chronology, feeling how a character develops and knowing when dialogue needs to be cut short, that’s what you need to look at and a third-party pair of eyes is going to be able to do it better.
Granted there are different types of editing and that’s something I’ll discuss in another post.
When it comes to a full-fledged manuscript, it’s important that you have the perspective of someone else. The dream of publication will eventually meant that your work reaches the hands of others and an editor is a great place to start.
Well it’s simple, they have your manuscripts’ best interests at heart. Despite how much you may fear that bold red pen (or those red ‘tracked changes’ in Word), your editor belongs to you. It’s a personal bond – a very special bond – and something that will always work in favour of your manuscript.
If your editor suggests removing a chapter, and provides a good reason for doing so, then unfortunately you may just have to grin and bear it, or at least try and see it from their point of view.
At the end of the day, handing over your ‘baby’ to someone experienced in the world of editing will help it progress from a baby, to a young child and eventually it may be ready to enter the years of adulthood where it can finally be sent out into the world.
And although a good editor will ultimately do what’s best for your book, it’s more about what they can do for you. No matter how much writing you do in solitary confinement, it’s not until you have the reviews of your peers when you can begin to improve. Building a strong relationship with your editor will help your writing flourish and with the weight of editing removed from your shoulders, you’ll find yourself feeling less stressed and more creative.
I’m really interested in what you think about good editors. Have you had previous good or bad experiences?
If you’re currently looking for an editor, why not drop me a line and see what my availability is. My prices are very competitive and I offer all Indie authors an additional 15% discount.