The recent surge of threads lately had me thinking of all the editors and proofreaders that I have hired over the last few years.
When I first started writing, I had no idea there were so many different types of editors: Beta Readers, Developmental Editors, Line Editors, Copy Editors, Proofreaders and I know I’m missing one, just can’t think of it.
I gave them what I thought were pretty good and they tore it apart. The first time I got my work back, my heart sank. It was a mess, completely marked and noted everywhere. It was also wonderful.
After I fixed everything, I sent it to a different editor, who tore it up again, then, again and again, it was never ending. Each time it got better and better. When I go back and look at my first draft, it makes me blush at how bad it was - AND, I actually thought it was good!
I have learned so much about writing a novel vs novella vs short story. I’m still bad at structures, tense (horrible at tense) and still screw up many things. If I ever get the grasp of how to write properly on my own, many people would probably be homeless.
So if you are a writer or a wanna be writer, here are a few tips for you:
Don’t ever proofread your own work - trust me it will suck.
You have no idea how often you forget to tell the reader what was in your head.
Joan could go from Australia to India in a matter of two seconds, unless you are writing Star Trek the next chapter, not possible. She could go from short hair to long hair - yikes! Hire an editor!
If you’re not sure what an editor can do for you because you are such a wonderful writer, let me put it in terms many will understand.
Writer = Hollywood Actor
Editor = Hollywood Stuntman/woman
Actor brings the character to life; stuntman or woman makes it exciting
Writer brings characters to life; editors/proofreaders makes it exciting
How many action flicks have you seen that you think would be any good if it wasn’t for those crazy stunt people doing insane stuff to make it exciting/make the actors seem like real tough superheroes?
A book may be good but a great editor will make it EXCITING!
They will drive you insane. Trust me you will get mad at them, you may even say a few bad words at them or at least at the computer while staring at, yet another set of markups.
If an editor ever gives you back your work and tells you how good it is or has very few fixes - it’s not because you are good, it’s because they are bad at their job. Fire them and hire someone else.
Good editors are professional, who will help you to shine again and again - they are very patient people. They will not criticize your work, they will not change the tone or meaning and will always help you with suggestions in the utmost professional manner.
For me, to all those who has/have/had ever proofed or edited for me or will, “Thank you!”
It’s a thankless job and I couldn’t have done it without you. That being said, this topic can use some serious proofreading!