Edits….so much red

I decided for my current self-publishing venture to hire an editor. I’ve never worked with one before. In the past the story was edited and then published by the publisher, I didn’t have much input.

I read a ton of articles on how to chose an editor and the types of editing available. Mind boggling. I narrowed down the list to four and sent each a small section of the story. Each one edited the section differently. They all picked up on different issues. I asked for line edits. Some did just that, others went further and gave helpful tips or ideas about the story itself. Prices ranged from groceries for a family of 4 to a night at the movies. I have a tiny budget so I picked an editor that was affordable and that gave more than just a line edit.

She was wonderful and very helpful. I learned a lot about writing and how I write.

  • I did have flashbacks from high school English.
  • I need to purchase a copy of The Chicago Manuel of Style.¬† That would have helped a bit before I sent it to the editor.
  • You really do need an extra pair of eyes. As the writer, we know what we want to say and our brain is wonderful about filling in the blanks. Our readers don’t have that ability. They only have the words¬† on the page.
  • Head hopping is a virus that must be killed. Yes, that is a bit dramatic. I mentioned in a previous post that I have this problem. I didn’t realize it until this summer. Now, it is in the forefront of my mind and I look for that when I self-edit.
  • You don’t have to take their advice. You are paying for their advice and experience. If you ignore them, make sure it’s for a really good reason and not pride.
  • They can be cheerleaders. My editor did call me out on several things, but she also let me know when I was doing something right. Her greatest compliment to me was she didn’t expect the twist I gave the ending. She knew something was going to happen, which did happen, but I went further than what she expected and so it made a better ending. I think it does. You can read it shortly and let me know.
  • It’s a great learning experience. Reading her comments made me look at my writing in a different way. I had to go through and decide if I wanted to keep it or make a change. It was hard but well worth it.
  • Editing created a stronger story. I know if I sent the new story to another editor they would have new/different changes. That’s OK. No story or novel is perfect. Go pick up a bestseller. They have issues too. The goal is to make it as strong as you can.

What experience have you had with editors?