Editing Adventures

Friday, April 14, 2023

A good editor helps to improve the quality of your story, and writing skills. He/she will not change your voice or insist you switch up your novel and tell it his/her way. 

If you’re going down the wrong path, your editor should explain why your way won’t work. If you choose not to listen, the readers won’t hesitate to tell you what they don’t like about your book or storytelling.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood or Pexels.com

It's never a good thing to feel violated when your manuscript comes back to you. There's always a gentle way to point to mistakes. Our books are our babies, and writers have fragile egos. Editors know that.

There's a fine line between "feeling some kind of way" and taking out your angst about the work you'll have to do once the editor finishes with your story. If you intend to write more than one book, it's crucial to set pride aside, learn as much from your edit as possible, and make your baby shine.

Unfortunately, we're human and sometimes get stuck in our feelings. I know I've been there a time or two, depending on what was said to me. But it's important to remember that on your journey, you'll learn new things with every book you write and every edit you go through.

While writing Flames of Wrath, I got the idea to take a roundabout route because of the domestic thrillers I'd been reading. Well, the editor set me straight on my circuitous approach to telling the story. Once that was settled, I wrote the book how it was supposed to be written—along the lines of the way I write romantic suspense. 

 The point is, I learned that what I was reading wasn't true to form and adjusted my sails to do what was required. If we are going to make it as writers, knowing how to pivot is critical to successful story-telling.

Something I do for potential clients is to edit the first chapter free of cost, so I have a feel for their writing, and they can decide if they like my style. This doesn't always work to my advantage because some folks feel they can apply a first-chapter edit to the entire manuscript. I won't say any more about that. The pitfalls should be obvious.

But to revisit my original point, although your edit may not be to your liking, the one thing I know is that you should learn something from each one. So, if your writing doesn't improve with each encounter, change your editor or dive deeper into studying the craft.

The worst part of editing for me is having your book come to me a second time (for whatever reason) and I see the same errors I corrected the first time. It says something about your approach. 

The clients who understand my edits will tell you I'm good at what I do, but I'm not cheap and never will be. If your writing is clean, I'll always be inclined to give a discount. Think of it as a reward.

If it's a hundred miles of rocky road, and I have to co-write, no apologies; it will cost you more. As one graphic artist I greatly admire puts it (I'm paraphrasing), you have to charge according to your worth. Charge enough for what you do so you don't resent the client and the work. 

 Why am I writing this? I enjoy sharing and teaching. Plus, although I tell myself I'm not observant, I am. So, when you haven't forgiven me for what you convince yourself I've done, I know, and I see you.

Photo credit: Suzy Hazelwood of Pexels


  1. A chapter edit does not apply to an entire manuscript! Or maybe they are getting a free chapter from everyone?

  2. So true, Alex. But it would be a lot of work to get a chapter edit from so many different people. :)


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