I see a lot of writers completing their project – be it a story, novel or whatever – and putting it aside before going back through it, fine-tuning what they have.
“I just edited it!” they exclaim, all proud with themselves.
No. You didn’t. What you did was another draft. You were rewriting.
An editor is ANOTHER HUMAN BEING who takes your work, reads through it from start to finish, and pulls everything apart. He or She cares greatly about your story and the effort you put into making it come together. He or She (let’s just call the Editor, eh?) wants to see your work shine. The Editor wants to help you in your quest to brush aside the dirt to reveal the diamond beneath.
And man is that diamond magnificent – because it’s yours! You made it.
That’s what an editor is. Another set of eyes, a fresh perspective. In my case, someone who knows just when to use a semi-colon (for the record I a am a terrible abuser of that particular punctuation). If your editor is worth their salt, they will not mince their words when you’re being lazy or trying to cheat. Because come on, we’re all guilty of trying to take a shortcut now and then. Trust me, a good editor will always spot it and tell you to pull your socks up.
As my own editor, the hard-as-nails Laurie Laliberte once said to me: “Put on your big boy pants and own your writing!”
Your editor is not there to rewrite you. That’s YOUR job. They are there to pull your work to pieces, to question inconsistencies in your plot, to ensure the characters you write (and their dialogue) is realistic to the kind of story you’re telling. And you will learn by having your work edited. The good practices an editor tries to hammer into you will pay off, over time. You start remembering certain things. You become a better writer.
So my advice? If you want to self-publish, if you want to reach readers and have your writing pay its way, an editor is not something you can do without.
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On Monday the 20th of October my YA Scifi novel Age of Destiny is OUT! But wait, there’s more. Operation Chimera, the novel I wrote with Matt Cox, published by Curiosity Quills Press, is also out! Both titles are available to pre-order for 99c each, so what are you waiting for?