Some time ago I wrote a list post about lessons I’ve learned since I started writing. One of those lessons was the value of editors. Having just finished incorporating the editor’s input into Book III, I’m reminded again just how critical the editorial process is.
Editors see things writers don’t. I can’t say for sure, but I suspect they have a third eye. They point out where the story drags, where the action is confusing, where the characters aren’t being true to themselves, where the setting falls short or where description is excessive. From personal experience, I can vouch that this is, by no means, an exhaustive list.
The first time I went through this process, it was a shock to my system. I thought I was prepared: I wasn’t. Instead, I was left wondering, “What the hell was I thinking? I can’t write.” I had to set the manuscript aside for a few days and re-group. This photo reminds me of that feeling.
When I picked up the editor’s notes again, I was able to receive the feedback in the spirit it was given. I re-wrote the entire manuscript – even started from a new point in the story. During that often frustrating and time-consuming process, the narrative improved immeasurably. Characters filled out, choreography improved, description was honed.
After I’d finished, the editor went through it again, examining every verb for proper fit and smoothing out rough spots I didn’t even know were there. The end product was worth every agonizing minute of re-write. And because it’s my name on the cover, I’m very happy I invested the extra time and money for professional editors.
If you are considering publishing your work, I highly recommend you find professional editors to work with. You won’t regret it. I started with a Manuscript Evaluation through the Writers’ Union of Canada http://www.writersunion.ca/content/manuscript-evaluations. Another useful resource is the Editors’ Association of Canada http://www.editors.ca/hire/index.html. Their website will guide your search.
How about you? Have you had a memorable editing experience?