Monday, January 21, 2013
No one writes the perfect novel the first time through. Even the greats edited, some to extreme (I'm thinking Hemingway here), but the resulting stories were always so much better. One of my writing mentors said that editing is finding gold in the garbage. One of my writing buddies said that editing is making the swirls in icing of the cake. (Don't you just love writers?)
Sometimes it's really hard to figure out when the manuscript is done. We edit and edit and edit some more, then realize that, hey, maybe this would sound better here than there and we start over editing again. At some point you have to say, okay, the cake is done, the icing is pretty and swirly and now it's time to send it out. YIKES! What if it's not good enough? What if I misspelled something? Did I put all my commas in the right places?
That's what our readers are for, guys and gals. Stephen King's wife, Tabitha is his reader and she points out all the things he missed when he edited it himself. (I'm making an assumption here - but I don't think my neck is stretched out too far...) Critique groups are good helpers, and there are even professional editors out there that will help for a fee. If you're like me you do your writing in your spare time, on a very tight budget, so paying an editor is sometimes hard to manage. But if you really want your manuscript to SING, have someone else take a look before you submit. It's worth it!
One parting comment. The bottom line is this, your manuscript is yours and any outsider recommendations should be thought through thoroughly before you make them. You will be editing again by any reputable publisher, but it's important to send them the best product you can. Enjoy the journey!