On Editing

Yes, I actually on occasion talk about writing on this blog. Shocking, huh?

Sifting through all the blog brouhahas going on the past few weeks, I came upon a couple blogs about books and editing. So I thought I’d tackle that topic today.

As a writer, you write the book (duh). When you’re finished, you edit the book, making sure that not only your plot is sound and your characters are believable and exciting, but that overall your book is something that both you and a publisher want to put on the shelves. Then, you submit said book to a publishing house that (hopefully) will want to buy it.

Let’s say they do buy it. Then comes the revision process. The editor takes over, reads the book and makes suggestions on how to make the book better. I call those content edits. Those could be changes to the plot, characterization, worldbuilding, etc. Along with those there could be some line edits (which are grammar, typograpical, spelling, etc. type of changes). The author gets those revisions back from the editor, makes the requested changes and hopefully reads through the book again to make sure it’s good to go. Once those are done, a copyeditor will go through the book to make sure it’s nice and clean, send it back to the author for yet another read through.

Throughout this process, the author works in tandem and in partnership with her editor.

Your editor is not the bad guy, though I’ve often had conversations with other writers who think the editor is the enemy. Boggles my mind. I’ve known authors who nitpick every freakin change, from a specific word all the way down to the punctuation.

Dude, it’s your editor’s job to edit the book. They’re hired to make your book better, not to sabotage it so it sucks.

I don’t spend my time obsessing over dangling participles, or the serial comma. And if my editor says my characterization blows, my heroine is a brainless twit, my hero is an ass, or there’s a hole in my worldbuilding, then I need to go back and figure out where I screwed up. That’s my editor’s job. Editor’s know what they’re doing. Let them do their jobs.

On Karen Scott’s blog, this topic was discussed, and I thought one of the things said by Nora Roberts was brilliant, and I quote: In my experience, the editors I’ve worked with have been right 99% of the time when they make suggestions to improve the work. I don’t argue, so that when that 1% comes up, and I think she’s wrong and I’m write, she doesn’t argue.
(And I hope Nora doesn’t kick my ass for quoting her :giggle: )

But she’s absolutely right. Pick your battles. Don’t argue the small shit. Save your contentions for big plot points where you know you’re right, not the freakin comma and semicolon battles.

I love my editors. They have often saved me from looking like a blithering idiot. They have turned many an average book into a great book. They have occasionally kicked my ass, leaving me grumbling about rewrites, but dammit, they’re always right. Any successes I have enjoyed have been largely in part to their expert assistance in helping make my books better.

I couldn’t do what I do without them. :heart: