Posted by: Kathleen Mix | January 25, 2012

The Value of a Good Editor

The edits for my latest book appeared in my inbox last Monday. And instantly, my nerves went taut. What had my editor found to criticize? Did she want revisions I’d be unable to make? Had she decided the book was hopeless? My insecurities ran wild as I opened her email.
I breathed slightly easier when I read ‘a well-written manuscript’ and ‘nothing major’. But still, I held my breath as I opened the file.
At The Wild Rose Press, manuscripts are submitted in Microsoft Word format and edited using Track Changes. An editor can line out phrases, sentences, or paragraphs they suggest be deleted, highlight portions they question, or insert suggested words. Punctuation or grammar errors are marked and corrected. The editor can write comments to explain her concerns or raise questions. If something in the story doesn’t seem to work, she can brainstorm ideas for how the author might fix the problem. The author goes through the corrections and suggestions and accepts or rejects the changes to the manuscript. In some cases, entire scenes may be added or deleted.
As I read through my editor’s corrections and comments, I was reminded how valuable a good editor or critique partner can be. Aside from punctuation and grammar mistakes that any reader other than the author is more likely to spot, every manuscript has weak areas that can be improved. My editor’s sharp eye usually finds those places where a little more conflict is needed or I’ve put in unnecessary explanations. Her suggestions and comments always make my books and characters stronger.
I dislike criticism of my ‘baby’, whether from my critique partners or my editor. But one of the most important lessons I’ve learned since I began writing is to listen and heed thier advice. My work will never be perfect. The most I can do is make it the best I’m capable of at any stage of my career. I hope that by listening to criticism each of my books is better than the last.
When I sent back my edits, I knew Deadly Memories will be released as a better book. And I knew a good editor deserves some of the credit.

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Responses

  1. Good post. It is hard to get used to criticism. However, as you said, we can always get better.

    Like


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