I have been writing for what seems like forever. Editing… not so much. For the most part I wrote, finished project, and moved on to the next. This is before I finally decided I wanted to try to get my work published. I tried editing on my own, going over my book again and again and again. I thought I had it fixed up just wonderfully… the few people who read it never made any comments about things such as punctuation, tenses, structure, tone etc.
Then someone who knew what they were doing looked at it. Would I like to see the notes they made? Most definitely! What caught me by surprise was the comment to please not cry, or be angry. Okay… I looked at the pages they had edited for me. There was a LOT of red, and many other colours, lines crossing whole paragraphs out. There wasn’t much of my writing untouched.
I will be honest, I was a little dismayed, though not at all the red. I was upset with myself for missing so much. I set to work fixing the problems, and went through the entire book again.
Jumping ahead, I was lucky enough to have another most wonderful friend look at a chapter. Again when it was returned I got the .. please don’t be mad at me! Yes, there was a lot of red. And other colours. And lines crossing out whole sentences. This time I felt almost disappointed, there was a lot less red! Of course I was also happy about this too. LOL Yet again, I fixed the problems through the whole book.
The most helpful thing my editors did was include explanations next to their changes. This sentence is rough or choppy. Punctuation here is incorrect- and then explained. This word has been used too frequently. You get the idea. So not only was I able to improve my book, I learned so much along the way!
Having someone with fresh eyes, and who knows what they are doing, can do wonders for the quality of your book. I am assuming, due to the ‘please don’t cry or be mad’ comments, that some authors don’t take kindly to this help. Personally, I am eternally grateful for all the time and effort my editors put in. Their input and suggestions have been invaluable, even though occasionally I went I different route, I at least was made aware there was an issue and could fix it in my own way.
My main point of this post however is geared towards authors. Appreciate your editors, be they professionals or friends. Don’t get angry when they suggest changes. You don’t have to take them, however seriously consider what they are saying. If their suggestions to fix the problem don’t suit you… try something else. Obviously there is an issue.
Don’t be upset when you see all that red (or whatever colour it may be). Consider it a challenge, a way to improve your book and your skills even more! Smile, you can do this. Everything you do will make you a stronger writer, a better writer. Your stories will thank you for it.
Editing is of course a time consuming and occasionally frustrating experience while your attempt to find the perfect words. I recommend getting yourself one of these…
Have editing stories, tips or tricks as a writer or an editor? Please comment!