I just finished editing/re-writing one of my older stories. Now, I’m on to making corrections from a reader on my latest novel before sending it to the editor. I guess I have on the editor’s hat. When I first started writing, I never used to consider the necessity. Why would I edit? Aren’t there professionals for that? Well, yes, but editors will only go so far. Mine has blessed me in her thoroughness. She actually called me lazy in one of my earlier works because I described something in a few sentences instead of taking the time to do it justice. But I need that. I need someone telling me where I can push myself. It’s tricky. Some people will trash work to feel better about their own (or just because they don’t know how to affectively critique). I have to be careful because, after a while, I might believe their exaggerations.
But, while my editor is great, she does charge more if there are a LOT of corrections. Not to mention, it’s an ego thing. I never felt more pride than when she returned my third novel and stated it was pretty clean. I have an English major, but I could care less what this phrase is called and how to use commas versus ellipses versus whatever other literary devices authors use. I am more focused on the plot. I have places to drive my characters toward. Who has time to consider if, when speaking, we really should use semi-colons? (I’ve been told the answer is no, in case you were wondering)
Before my novels, I never realized how much editing an author actually does. The first edit comes as I write. I’ll read the previous chapter, more if blocked, before writing the new section. This is mainly content, making sure it says what I imagined the day before. After all, when the words are flowing, everything sounds award winning…not so much retrospect. But, I can only strengthen by looking at deeper edits. Those close know I struggle with homophones. To me, they are the universe’s evil plot against language. I cannot edit my own work, not with accuracy. I read what is supposed to be there, not what is actually there. I have read numerous editing tips, none of which associated with how to avoid this problem. The only one that I have heard is to read the story backwards: read the last sentence, the one before that, then one before that, etc. There is just something about the thought of doing this that makes me cringe. It might work…but I probably will lose my sanity.
I wish they had better way to train a brain to switch from the writer’s hat to the editor’s hat. This would certainly save a lot of money. But, then again, I would rather rest on an outside source, one that does not live in my head and therefore can have an objective viewpoint on the pieces’ worth.