Wednesday, December 3, 2014

In Praise of Editors

This was posted by one of my authors as we were working on a book together.

Source: Torquere Press Romance for the Rest of Us Blog

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thoughts on editing

Being in the middle of working with my editor on Ghost's Dilemma, I've been thinking...

Editors really are unsung heroes. I read a blog post elsewhere, and the blogger was bemoaning the way books obviously lacking in any editorial attention whatsoever are getting five stars and rave reviews because the authors are joining review-for-fee sites, or having friends review, or even making sock puppet accounts and reviewing themselves. The blogger's issue was that the falsely inflated reviews can lure readers into purchasing terribly written books.

But really, I think the issue is the importance of editing, more than the artificial inflation of reviews. For any of us who've dabbled in fan fiction, as writers or readers, we know how a hard core circle of fans can make even a dreadful mess look wonderful, going by ratings and reviews. But the difference is that no one's paying to read the fan fiction. A book for sale is another thing entirely. I feel I owe it to my readers to turn out the best product I can.

I just printed out a page of words to avoid, one that my editor recommends. I make sure I internalize the things I learn in the editing process, and carry them over into my writing. I read my own manuscript to catch the most egregious errors. I spell check, and run the grammar check even if I know I'll ignore some of its findings. Dialogue is not perfect, and most of us don't speak with flawless grammar.

Even with all of the above, if I were to self publish, I would scrape together the money to hire an editor. The things I miss are legion. Awkward sentences, atrocious word choices, and knowing what I meant as opposed to what I've written - these are all things no amount of self-editing will fix. I need that strong person behind me, reading my mess of a manuscript and pointing out the rough patches. I appreciate guidance or suggestions where offered, but if I need to roll my sleeves up and figure out how to fix things, then I'll do it. It's my name on the cover, but in all honesty, we need a spot for our editors to be recognized, because nothing I write would be anywhere near worth reading without my editors.

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