So You Think You Can Write?

Some time ago I wrote a list post about lessons I’ve learned since I started writing. One of those lessons was the value of editors. Having just finished incorporating the editor’s input into Book III, I’m reminded again just how critical the editorial process is.

Editors see things writers don’t. I can’t say for sure, but I suspect they have a third eye. They point out where the story drags, where the action is confusing, where the characters aren’t being true to themselves, where the setting falls short or where description is excessive. From personal experience, I can vouch that this is, by no means, an exhaustive list.

Star-Fish-On-Hook

So You Think You Can Fish?

The first time I went through this process, it was a shock to my system. I thought I was prepared: I wasn’t. Instead, I was left wondering, “What the hell was I thinking? I can’t write.” I had to set the manuscript aside for a few days and re-group. This photo reminds me of that feeling.

When I picked up the editor’s notes again, I was able to receive the feedback in the spirit it was given. I re-wrote the entire manuscript – even started from a new point in the story. During that often frustrating and time-consuming process, the narrative improved immeasurably. Characters filled out, choreography improved, description was honed.

After I’d finished, the editor went through it again, examining every verb for proper fit and smoothing out rough spots I didn’t even know were there. The end product was worth every agonizing minute of re-write. And because it’s my name on the cover, I’m very happy I invested the extra time and money for professional editors.

If you are considering publishing your work, I highly recommend you find professional editors to work with. You won’t regret it. I started with a Manuscript Evaluation through the Writers’ Union of Canada http://www.writersunion.ca/content/manuscript-evaluations. Another useful resource is the Editors’ Association of Canada http://www.editors.ca/hire/index.html. Their website will guide your search.

How about you? Have you had a memorable editing experience?

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About JP McLean

Author of The Gift Legacy, a contemporary thriller with a twist of fantasy that will leave you believing the impossible and wary of the night sky…
This entry was posted in On Writing, The Gift Trilogy and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to So You Think You Can Write?

  1. I haven’t worked with a professional editor yet, but I share a lot of my writing with groups that I’m part of. I find a second pair of eyes is often useful to see where a story drags or needs polishing, and often I can help them spot issues in their work that they’ve seen in mine. I suppose professional editors are used to doing that at – well – a professional level 🙂

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    • JP McLean says:

      Writing groups are a great source of editorial input. And because you’re critiquing each other’s work, you’re probably putting a tremendous amount of thought into your feedback. It’s all good. As you said, a second pair of eyes is often useful. Thanks for your comment.

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  2. bgbowers says:

    I have yet to go through this process. I imagine it is both a confronting and educational experience.:)

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