Tag Archives: working with editors

On Writing, Part 3 – getting help

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Editing and being edited …
From Seth’s Blog: Copyediting, line editing and the other kind
From Rachelle Gardner: Trust Me, You Need a Good Editor
From Beyond Paper Editing: Editor’s Tip: Cleaning Up Your Manuscript Can Save You Money by Corina Koch MacLeod
From The Editors’ Weekly: Editing the First-Time Novelist by Susan Glickman
From Aliventures: The Three Stages of Editing (and Nine Handy Do-it-Yourself Tips)
From Positive Writer: 6 Quick Tricks to Help You Tighten Up Your Writing by C.S. Lakin

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When you’re ready to share …
From Writers Write: Five things to consider before you have your manuscript appraised
From Writer’s Digest: The 5 Differences Between Professional and Amateur Novelists by Charles Finch
From Janet Reid, Literary Agent: A Rant: On Hiring an Editor (Janet replies to a question from a writer …)

And when your work is finally out there …
From Books & Such: Worried About Your Work Being Stolen? by Rachelle Gardner

Read the first two posts in this series in which I’ve compiled useful links to articles and blogs: On Writing, Part 1 – getting started and On Writing, Part 2 – following through

On Writing, Part 2 – following through

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Support while you write …
From The Write Life: The Write Life Presents: The 100 Best Websites for Writers in 2014 by Carrie Smith

Why we write the way we do …
From terribleminds: Writing Advice From My Dream Brain and This Crazy-Making Business Called “Writing” by J.C. Hutchins
From Lisette’s Writers’ Chatau: FIVE WAYS TO STAY SANE AS A WRITER

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How to anticipate and fix problems before they become unwieldy …
From Slate: Space Invaders: Why you should never, ever use two spaces after a period. by Farhad Manjoo
From Authors Helping Writers: Most Common Writing Mistakes: Stories That Begin Too Early by K.M. Weiland
From io9: Why is it so hard to write a decent ending? by Charlie Jane Anders
From Writers Write: Is your character stressed? and Persuasive Writing – Emotional vs Intellectual Words and All About Nouns
From Vulture: The 5 Best Punctuation Marks in Literature by Kathryn Schulz
From Nathan Bransford: How did you choose your novel’s perspective?
From Books & Such: What about a Secondary Character’s Point of View? by Mary Keeley

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Finishing that shitty first draft …
From Rachel Gardner: Nobody Writes Good First Drafts
From This Itch of Writing: How do you decide when to share your draft?
From terribleminds: It Takes The Time It Takes

And some genre-specific advice …
From Writers Write: Five Fabulous Tips for First Time Crime Writers
From Nail Your Novel: 3 tips for writing watertight fantasy, science fiction and time travel stories

Be sure to read my other blog posts that compile helpful articles on this subject, On Writing, Part 1 – getting started and On Writing, Part 3 – getting help …

Writers and their Editors

Three more articles on the relationship between writer and editor.

From The Digital Editor: When an Editor Matters by Rich Adin
“Editors do matter. The choice of editor does matter. The type of editing does matter. A good working relationship between author and editor does matter. And it is vitally important that an author not believe that each word he or she has written is sacrosanct and cannot be changed for the better.”

(This next article may seem quite shocking at first glance to readers out there, but what the author has to say makes a great deal of sense to me who has worked on the publishing side of this buisness and knows how most decisions to publish are actually made.)

From FUTUREBOOK: Let’s abolish editors by Agent Orange

(Like the author of this article, I too was impressed by Berg’s book about Max Perkins. Those were the days when editing and editors were very important – perhaps even the most important aspect of publishing.)

From Publishers’ Weekly: What Ever Happened to Book Editors? by Marjorie Braman

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More on Editing

And this is why everyone needs an editor – especially self-published authors … These are just a few comments – of 31 similar-sounding reviews!! – about an eBook listed for sale on Amazon. Yikes!! You’d think the author would have had enough sense by now to de-list the entire series and fix the problems in her books!

Worst editing ever – The story is ok but I never read a book with so many spelling mistakes. Very poor editing. Not sure I will continue reading the series.

5 star writing, one star proofreading – Very good read but absolutely the worst editing and proofreading I have EVER seen. Too bad as doing this electronically should be easy. In some cases the characters name was wrong, many punctuation errors and omissions, incomplete sentences, you name it, it was there. Too bad.

Just OK – I read the first in the series because I got it free. Since I enjoy books in series, I am reading the others to see what happens with Cindy and Mattheus, but only because they are fairly inexpensive downloads. The storyline is just ok and the editing (or lack thereof) makes me cringe at times. For example, in this book, one of the characters was first named Ables, then Noles, then back to Ables. Maybe it’s the former school teacher in me, but it is bothersome.

You MUST hire an editor!! Please! For the sake of your readers.

And here are some editing tips to tackle on your own before you send your manuscript on to a professional editor!!

From The Writer Life: 25 Editing Tips for Tightening Your Copy

And here’s a handy-dandy Story Structure/ Plotting infographic, again to help you sort out your manuscript before you hire an editor: Amanda Patterson’s Story Structure/ Plotting Guide

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Do not attempt to edit your manuscript alone, kids! That manuscript is never as good as you think it is. Besides, it’s self-publishers like the example I offered at the beginning of this post who give all of us self-publishers a bad name.

On editors and editing

Here’s a roundup of interesting and informative articles I’ve been collecting over the past few months. I’m directing this post at those students I know who are just wrapping up their studies in a writing class, and for anyone who is currently writing for NaNoWriMo – to read and heed after the month-long slog ends on Nov. 30th. I hope all this information helps!

Why you need an editor in the first place
From Poynter: Why good copy editors are “abnormal” humans by Craig Silverman
From Indie Author News Editing – Why Not to Do-It-Yourself by Gerald Rice
From The Guardian: The age of Amazon still needs editors like Max Perkins by Gavin James Bower
From Publishers Weekly: Why All Self-Publishers Need a Good Editor by Betty Kelly Sargent

Self-editing you can do before you work with an editor
From HuffPost Books: Six Easy Tips for Self-Editing Your Fiction by Kristen Lamb
From Entrepreneur: 10 Words to Cut From Your Writing by Shanna Mallon

On finding an editor
From Rinelle Grey: 6 Tips for Choosing the Right Editor for your Book
From Writer’s Digest: 10 Things Your Freelance Editor Might Not Tell You – But Should by Brian Klems
From GalleyCat: GalleyCat’s Freelance Editor Directory
In Canada, you may contact Editors’ Association of Canada for information on hiring a professional editor.

How to work with an editor
From Nail Your Novel: How to deal with critiques and editorial feedback and 7 ways to cut a novel without losing anything important

Different types of editing and how long to expect the process will take
From Catharine, Caffeinated: Proofreading Explained and Copy-editors: What They Really Do by Robert Doran
From The POP Newsletter: Why Does Editing Take So Long?

I ♥ My Editor!

My editor, Rachel Small of Faultless Finish Editing, is the best! She’s dedicated to her vocation, is accurate, listens to her clients, and not only provides a quality edit that rids manuscripts of error, but also offers brilliant suggestions on how the text and story can be improved further for the benefit of the reader. And I love her for that, because she’s taking my writing – and me as a writer – to a new level. Rachel helps me see through all my beloved words and precious darlings with clear eyes that show me exactly where my writing is weak, where I need to beef up the story, where I must indeed hack off limbs in order to save the body of the manuscript, and where I excel and actually do something right – without false praise or flattery. If it sucks, she tells me so! Tough love for this writer’s ego, but definitely necessary treatment, and I’ve learned how to accept – nay, embrace! – her critiquing, corrections, and all attempts TO HELP ME MAKE MY WRITING THE BEST IT CAN BE!!!

Ultimately, that’s what all “good” editors do – they improve your book. AND EVERY WRITER NEEDS AN EDITOR!!! Editors don’t make changes; they suggest where changes might be made. They always (or should) ask “OK?” in their notes when pointing out faults they discover and how those faults might be remedied. They don’t change writers’ precious words without first allowing writers to make the final decision. If a writer decides not to take an editor’s advice and not make those suggested changes, it’s their call, but they should realize that what the editor suggests be changed is all in an attempt TO MAKE THAT MANUSCRIPT THE BEST IT CAN BE!!!

I attended a writing conference in Edmonton with Rachel. We rented a table together in order to promote our services. One writer approached and asked what business Rachel was in. She said, “I’m an editor.” The man immediately crossed his fingers in front of his chest, as though warding off evil spirits, and said, “You’re the enemy then. I’m a writer. Editors change my words.” You should be so lucky to have your words changed, Bub! was what I wanted to say to this writer. Rachel and I just laughed (a rolling-eye kind of laugh) and tried to explain that a good editor will help him become a better writer. I’m not sure he could ever be convinced, however.

When consulting new writers, I often suggest they take an introductory course in editing – not to learn how to edit their own work (which is impossible, because as I mentioned above, EVERY WRITER NEEDS AN EDITOR!!!), but to understand exactly what an editor does, how they do it, and how AN EDITOR CAN HELP THEM BECOME A BETTER WRITER!!! I believe that working with a good editor is better than workshopping a manuscript or asking peers to critique it, but that’s just my personal preference. The editor offers a second set of eyes. Their mandate, with any text, is to make it clear, cohesive and consistent. Please note that not one of those 3 Cs is change. For their part, writers need to get over sharing their work with someone who is only there to help and not harm. In some cases though a bit of harm can help… Not every writer is as brilliant as they, or their mothers, think they are, and they must get over that illusion.

The other misconception writers have is that they shouldn’t have to PAY TOO MUCH OR AT ALL for an editor’s services. I figure it this way – you get what you pay for. A good editor is worth their weight in gold, because they will do everything they can TO MAKE YOUR MANUSCRIPT BETTER THAN IT IS!!! Yes, a publisher’s editor will likely have at it again once you’ve signed a contract to publish the book. The key here though is to make the manuscript the best it can be so that you are offered that contract to publish in the first place. And for all those who figure they’ll just self-publish, thereby skipping the “unnecessary” expense of having your manuscript professionally edited (and maintaining total control over your book)… WRONG THINKING!!! EVERY WRITER NEEDS AN EDITOR! WITHOUT EXCEPTION!

Besides, we owe it to our readers. You know, those people we’re writing for in the first place? Those who will buy the finished book and trust that you’ve written something THAT IS THE VERY BEST IT CAN BE!!! Some of your friends may forgive many problems about your book just because they’re your friends (or your mother), but readers deserve a book that is free of error, consistent in character, timeline, with accurate details, and a story that flows. Just consider yourself to be a reader for a moment. Isn’t that what you expect when you read a book? The message an edited book sends to any reader is that YOU are a professional, not just some hack-writer. AND IT’S THE EDITOR WHO HAS HELPED YOU GET TO THAT POSITION OF BEING VIEWED AS A PROFESSIONAL!!!

So find an editor you can work with (compatibility is very important as not all editors are created equal). Ask for recommendations (if in Canada, contact the Editors’ Association of Canada for referrals, similar organizations in other countries) to editors living in your area – although it is possible to work with an editor via email and never meet them at all. Or ask your writing association for advice. (You do belong to a writing association, don’t you? Best support system for any writer!) When you do find an editor, and the two of you click, hang onto that editor for the dear life of your writing. You will never have a better association with anyone else in this business – publisher, mentor, critique group, mother – NO ONE will ever help your writing more than a good editor. Believe me! But go find your own editor – Rachel is MINE!!!

(Seriously, though, I highly recommend Rachel as well as a number of other editors I have met and come to know over the years. Contact me if you’re looking for a referral.)