Thursday, February 02, 2012

Now onto Editing...

"…your reader is at least as bright as you are." William Maxwell

We have written our work and are now ready to edit it. Editing is the stage of the writing process in which a writer or editor strives to improve a draft  (and sometimes prepare it for publication) by correcting errors and by making words and sentences clearer, more precise, and more effective.

The definition of editor is:
(1) An individual who oversees the preparation of text  in newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals, and books; short stories, manuscripts, etc.
(2) An individual who assists an author in copyediting  a text.

Writers have internal editors that always sit checking, rethinking and wondering if what they just wrote sounds okay. They go back and keep fixing each sentence to make it the most perfect sentence but in the process they are losing time in their writing day. I already did the blog post about turning that internal editor off!

I remember telling my one friend, who asked me to look at her work, to eliminate the overuse of the word AND. Well she had an ‘editor’ friend who told her not to remove the ANDS. A matter of preference? Is one eye different than having four different eyes looking at your work? Yes, all four will say something remarkably different.

I remember one time, I wrote this story. I fixed and tweaked my heart out. I asked an editor friend to do a once over and see what she found. My biggest problems were with tense shift, so she fixed them, made the story look brilliant in my eyes, but when I posted it to the classroom, I got hit with all kids of opinions of you should change this or that, and this is wrong, try this, until I put the story in my filing closet, never to be seen again.

Not that I mind opinions, but I realized that too many opinions can be harmful to your writing instead of helping you along. All writers (most of them anyway) think they are editors because they got an A+ for twelve years of English class. A grammar pro does not make the perfect editor, nor does a writer make the perfect editor. An editor has to understand sentence structure as well as story line structure; they have to have in-depth knowledge of the writing craft. To me I want my editor educated in the field of writing for many many years before I place my work into her/his hand. Your editor is the next step in getting published.

What I want in an editor, and I’m sure editors look for it too, is a like minded individual. We can not expect an editor who has reviewed, written and enjoys the genre of evil, to appreciate a novel about spirituality and God. They will be very cynical and sometimes unable to give you a good edit. Same for a person of faith trying to edit a dark dark text. You might think you can cross the line and be very objective, but really you’re going to find that you’re more critical and putting in your opinion.

As you revise your work and make it shine, remember to think before you delete that imperfect word or rearrange the structure of the sentence. When you submit your work to an editor, make sure they are of a like mind because it is then that you won’t mind handing it over to them. And the editor I choose will be with the magazine, publisher of my choice. Right genre, write right!

"To be clear is the first duty of a writer; to charm and to please are graces to be acquired later." Brander Matthews


benning said...

Your editor also needs to be recognize your 'voice'. Some editors cannot hear that voice, and their editing reflects that. That's when you, the author, have to see what's being missed, and stick to that voice.

joni said...

I know that voice..oh hey, it's you, benning!

...needs to be *able* to recognize...

oh my the editor in me shining through! :P

benning said...

Hehehee! Funny! :P

Moonshooter said...

I don't mean to eavesdrop, but your 'voices' sound familiar. Iz it OK if I hang out with you guys a little longer? I like what ur saying. :D