Monday, January 28, 2013

The Importance of an Editor

I'll admit it. There have been several times in my short writing career where I have thought very bad things about my editors. I pour countless hours, a ridiculous amount of caffeine, and a chunk of my very soul into a project, and then, if it's even accepted it comes back bleeding with ruthless commentary. Entire chapters get deleted, characters get re-written, and some of my favorite scenes and witticisms are declared useless. And I tell myself "they're only being big meanies because they care."

Unfortunately, I just read a book that did not have the same kind of "care" I have received. The plot was original, took several twists, and had me involved. Even better, even though it was very much a teen/new adult romance, it was very clean, both in language and content, and we all know how I feel about that. In short, this should have been a book I gave at least a 4.5 rating to, blogged, tweeted, and otherwise promoted while ordering the next in the series. Only, it wasn't. In my opinion, it was all in the editing.

There were several instances of missed punctuation, "dropped" words, random sentences in the wrong tense,  and sentences that were so stiff it was obvious the author re-wrote it twenty times, trying to make it perfect. Now, I do not at all think that this means the author isn't talented. But, as an author, this funny little thing happens when you stare at the same page for the thousandth time. The brain starts to auto-correct what is actually written with what you think you wrote. It's like you're not really seeing what is there anymore. And that's why we all need editors.

After pouting, defending my phrasing, and finally walking away from my shredded manuscripts to clear my head, I've found that my editors are right. Every. Single. Time. It can be slightly annoying, and I've had to swallow wounded pride, but in the end I have a product that is so much better that I could have made it by myself. Because I know that some of my early drafts of Blood Bound looked just like the novel I finished this weekend. The only difference is that I have some awesome editors that care enough to help me make it better.

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