Writers love to write. We get excited and often feel transported by our creations. That’s fantastic. However, what’s in our minds and what actually drops onto the page can be quite different. An edit can show us just how close to the mark we are. After all, sometimes our prose falls out in frenetic dollops and it’s profoundly disappointing when a writer gives up a precious manuscript to a reader and they find lots of negative issues.
That’s why a really thorough and careful book edit can never be skipped.
It’s all about discipline and professionalism. A thorough edit demonstrates that you are very serious about your work. After all, we all want to write the very best book we are capable of writing. An edit will make that process possible.
Don’t add yet another reason for a publisher to reject a manuscript
Look at it this way. Most publishers have so many submissions to wade through. It is a long process and like a job interview, your manuscript can fail at the first sift. Do you really want that fate to await your dream? Exactly, that’s why editing is as important as the initial first draft. When you are self-publishing it is just as important. If readers are falling over errors and typos they have pulled away from the plot and a negative and damaging review might follow.
We all have different ways of writing
Some authors plan meticulously down to the last breath. Others start writing and go with the flow. Others combine the two strategies. Depending how you write you may not need a developmental editor. You can read more about those right here. If you have done a lot of hard graft it is possible that copy editing is what you need. You can choose to use a copy editor, or you can do it yourself. Basically, a copy edit is where you give your book a polish and work on the text. Therefore, watch out for issues regarding punctuation and grammar. Check spellings of places, people etc. Read carefully and catch all those annoying typographic errors we all make. If your character has brown hair in chapter one, unless she’s bleached it blonde as part of the plot it should remain brown! A copy edit eliminates glaring errors and issues. However, it’s a line by line approach not a fix for plot or characterisation or issues with the narrative arch. If you are struggling in this regard a developmental editor is a very good investment. After all, it’s better to send a manuscript off with thorough work completed rather than have it returned with a curt note about grammar, punctuation and typos etc.
Editing is a wonderful skill
Yes, we can all learn from the process. I spent a whole 12 months preparing my dissertation poems for my MA in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University. I still have the book in which I scribbled. I am exhausted just opening the small volume these days! However, do look at professional examples. Study rough draft edits from famous writers and poets and see just how much work goes into something that looks simple on the surface. I recommend looking at annotated poems by the first world war poet, Wilfred Owen. The magazine Mslexia often shows examples of editing and they are always fascinating.
However, if you are filled with trepidation why not hire a professional editor and discuss your concerns and ideas with them? Whether you need a significant developmental edit. A copy edit or one last proof read before submission there are professionals to help you. Asking for another perspective, especially a supportive one, will make a massive difference to a manuscript. You can even work alongside an editor if that helps. We do our best to support writers at whatever stage they find themselves, so do make an appointment to speak to us. The first 15 minutes is free. We look forward to talking about your dreams with you. Can we link to the calendar plugin please.