Friday, May 8, 2009

Editing Information

It's editing week here at Greyhaus. I have been talking to a lot of my writers and they are all at that phase right now with their WIP's. I figured this was as good a time as any to make a few comments on editing.

First of all, is there a right or wrong way to edit? Absolutely not. Every person has their own approach to editing. It is crucial however, to find that perfect way to edit that manuscript as soon as possible.

It is important though, to find someone to work with that will edit your work for you. I bring this up because of a concept called reading miscues. Essentially, your brain doesn't like to make mistakes so when you are editing your own work, you will often over-look the mistakes that are right in front of their face. This becomes an even bigger issue when you have been working with a manuscript for a long period of time. Basically, you come to know it so well that you scan too fast. Having that second pair of eyes will always help.

Now, where do you find those eyes? This is a tough one. You have to find someone that really knows what they are talking about. I like to use the analogy of getting your car repaired. If it is broken, do you take it to a plumber? The same holds true with writing. Do you take it to someone that can't write either?

There are a lot of writers out there who have their hearts in the right place and are very eager to provide support to other writers. Unfortunately, these are people that I wouldn't trust around my manuscripts (and in some cases around a computer). Getting the wrong feedback will only make the problems worse.

Let's talk about when you should edit. Edit early and edit often. One of the things I do with all of my writers is work with them throughout the entire process of their writing. I get partials early on and that gives me a chance to catch those big errors before the story gets too out of control. Remember that most of those mistakes will happen in the opening pages of the story. Set the tone early.

Next, remember that your writing may be a piece of garbage. Learn to accept that. If someone tells you something is wrong, don't get defensive. Listen and learn from this. I have heard too many writers blow off comments because they simply didn't like the comments. The problem is, the comments were right on the money.

Finally, don't get too hung up on the editing. I hear a lot of people that will over edit a manuscript and especially those opening chapters. At some point, you have to move on.

I think the one thing I want you to remember is that editing is essential. Your story needs to get that feedback to truly get to a quality that will get you closer to publication.

Have a great weekend.


1 comment:

  1. Boy, isn't that the truth?

    Sometimes editing seems harder than the writing, and sometimes it is. It's difficult to find that second pair of eyes, which makes the going even tougher.

    Thanks for the great suggestions.