Come into my world...discover...
my books, new authors, tips from the latest chapter in my life, people, places, and fun tidbits.
Tune in for
Muse Monday, Wicked Wednesday, Trippin' Thursdays,
and Fearless Friday as told by my guests and me.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Have You Kissed Your Editor Lately?


MUSE MONDAY
A couple of years ago, I worked as an editor for an e-publisher. What I learned could probably fill a book, if I was inclined to write nonfiction. Not only did I become a better editor as the year wore on, my skills as a writer also improved.

My authors ranged from the experienced to first time published. The blunders of both groups ran the spectrum from point of view problems to back-story dumps.

How much easier it was to see the foibles of other authors than to see my own. But what I came to recognize were my own weaknesses. When you’re removed from a manuscript, you see the pitfalls so much easier. I love my manuscripts like a baby and, like all mothers/fathers, I don't necessarily see the imperfections. The phrase I worked so hard over and is so clever has no history for the editor. Pretty easy to slash and burn. When I realized this, I was able to more easily step back and use the same technique on my own manuscripts.

We’re told to write without fear of our inner editor; to ignore her and lay our story down with abandon. I have a multi-published friend who requires little, if any editing, once she’s completed her manuscript. I’m convinced her inner editor works side-by-side with her. She’s at the point in her career, after having written so many books, she and her inner editor are one and doesn’t disrupt the creative process. Editing other authors has given me some of that ability. Kind of the practice-makes-perfect syndrome.

But, and this is a big but, I will always need an editor. In my opinion, an author will always be too close to her work to see all overused words, illogical plot lines, flat characters, questionable POV issues and unneeded verbiage to name a few. I also have great respect for editors. It’s hard work. And every suggestion from my editor gets a thoughtful consideration from me now.

What I found most amazing about the experience was hearing my voice in other authors. How many times had I disagreed when told to cut paragraphs of back-story? It hurts. We create this wonderful history, and shouldn’t everyone want to read about our well-rounded characters? You really have to know this! Or “but Nora Roberts” switched POV in the middle of a scene – why can’t I? Some edits are hard to make.

What I found most amusing about the experience was a comment my husband made to me one day when I was an editor as I toiled over one of my own manuscripts. My editor had sent back the first round of edits. I cringed at the amount of red. “My gosh, this is going to take me longer to edit than it took me to write it,” I complained out loud. My husband didn’t look up from his paper, but snickered, “Now you know how your authors feel.”

Don't forget to join my Quarterly Newsletter Group for a chance to win some Amazon gift cards!

14 comments:

  1. Another great post, Brenda. If it weren't from my CP's, I wouldn't have a need for an editor. If I didn't have an awesome editor, my book wouldn't be the best it possibly could be. I appreciate them all and respect what they have to say.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great blog Brenda, I'm going to send it to my editor. There is so much that I believe in in this one paragraph "I will always need an editor. In my opinion, an author will always be too close to her work to see all overused words, illogical plot lines, flat characters, questionable POV issues and unneeded verbiage to name a few. I also have great respect for editors. It’s hard work. And every suggestion from my editor gets a thoughtful consideration from me."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Charlotte. Hope your editor enjoys also.

      Delete
  3. Brenda, Great blog post. In fact I came here to your post from our Harlequin Heartwarming blog where we have an editor blogging this morning. She says she had to learn to offer alternatives to writers when she said something didn't work. I will always need an editor and appreciate mine so much. I think writers don't know how many times we reuse a single word or phrase. I even miss them when I re-read. I am lucky to have a critique partner who is great about picking up reaction before motivation sentences. We all have areas that need improvement. Thanks again for the great post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you enjoyed, Roz. I feel the same about my CP's too. If I didn't have them, my editor would really have her work cut out for her.

      Delete
  4. Yep. Good post and editing for others is a great learning tool for authors too.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Loved the post. I can't imagine not having a CP and editor. I'm constantly learning and experiencing new (and better) ways to tell a story. Editing your own work is so hard, especially since I know what the words are supposed to say and my brain makes those automatic corrections or skips over...I'm thankful for everyone who helps and makes suggestions!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So true, Melissa. We can see our own stories so vividly. An editor and CP's can tell us what they can't see.

      Delete
  6. I've worked with several editors since I started at TWRP, and each has taught me something about my writing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. TWRP has great editors. I've worked with two and both have been fantastic.

      Delete
  7. I adore all of my editors they are a great group of ladies and I cherish each one of them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good for you, Hales. I'm sure they love hearing that.

      Delete