Wednesday, March 5, 2014

We've Got Your Back

I'm a big believer in having a safety net. This is most likely because I'm not anything like an adrenaline junkie. Also, I'm petrified of making an ass of myself in public.

Because of this, I'm a huge fan of having an editor. I feel like that partnership, the author and editor working together, is one of the most valuable things a book can have on its side. And though I've had great editors and mediocre editors, and editors that really didn't provide much assistance at all, I have never had an editor that actively sought to harm the book.

In fact, all of them have been pretty seriously invested in seeing it succeed.

Because I know this, it's always confused me to hear writers balk at the idea of an editor, or any corrections, revisions, feedback, critique or beta reads. And I do hear it, usually backed with a heavy dose of delusion about the superiority of the writer's prose, as is.

But I think that whole perspective is a little twisted. A writer can write in a vacuum, and let's be honest, we usually do. They cannot, however, ever ever ever be entirely objective about their words. We love our words, people. If we didn't think they were pretty special, we wouldn't be writing them down and expecting strangers to pay money for them. That love of our own voice is a roadblock to improving any manuscript. We can't see past it on our own. It's fairly invisible to our happy little self-absorbed brain.

And if we don't get outside help, we are short changing our manuscript and putting it out on display with it's figurative pants down.

So when I get a batch of edits (like I just did today) that make me really stretch, I don't feel that resentment, or even resistance. Not ever. Nine times out of ten the edits are completely spot on, and I am so glad that someone caught the goof, or the confusing bit, or the part that is just fine but could still be a little bit better. I'm glad because if they hadn't...the reader would have. The reviewer would have. The critic most definitely would have.

And every time I sit down to go through them, I know that book is going to come out the other side better. It's one more chance to make it better, to use that safety net, those fresh eyes, before sending my words out to the world. They're still my words, but they are better crafted and far, far closer to ready.

1 comment:

  1. What a great post and I totally agree! I understand that it can suck a little having people critique your work but I love it that the story/post/review will just come out that much better in the end! I have a colleague who reads over some of my posts before I schedule them and I know it always helps in the end. I always go back to her, even when I see the red pen all over what I thought was a brilliant post.

    Good luck with the writing and editing :)

    Chanzie @ Mean Who You Are.


Please feel free to leave a comment! Just don't be a dick. Or we'll hunt you down.

Our Theme Song