Learning to accept the editing process
You may not be an author, but if you write freelance articles or are a blogger, you still need to be concerned about editing your work.
Whatever you write, you should be concerned about editing your work. Do you want your writing to be perceived as professional and received well? If you do then you need to quickly learn to accept and appreciate the many benefits of editing well. Some people have the gift of editing and others have the gift of writing. Some people have both gifts.
I find myself somewhere in the middle. I love to write. I feel that I am a better writer, than editor; however, I know that having my work edited by a professional will make me a better writer—if I learn from my mistakes.
Since I started writing in High School, I have grown by leaps and bounds as a writer, but that’s only because I’ve been open to instruction through editing. I went to college and have an English degree. I did well in school and went on to the business of public relations. When I finally got around to taking my writing seriously and finished my first book, I searched for a publisher.
At the time, I did not have the funds to have my book professionally edited. Of course, I did my own edits and had some other friends (who are pretty good at editing, but not professional), review it as well. The publisher I worked with did not have a good editing system; they really had no system in place at all. I know my book was not polished, but I use that as a stepping stone.
During the editing journey for my book, Mr. Shipley's Governess, I put the manuscript through many edits of my own.
I submitted it to one publishing company that gave me a contract and they had an awesome editor who opened my eyes to major issues I had. I learned a great deal from this editor. That publishing company went out of business before my book was published. I received a contract for my manuscript with another great company.
During those editing proceedings, it was another eye-opening experience.
I learned so much more. After these two major overhauls on my book, I felt that Mr. Shipley’s Governess was finally ready to take on the world!
During the first major editing overhaul of my manuscript, I learned that I had an issue with POV.
I kept head hopping between characters. Once that was shown to me, I worked hard and made the necessary changes and the book was one more layer towards completion. During that review, I also learned that I was going about my plot line wrong.
My book is an inspirational romance and the manuscript was anything but romantic.
I was telling the story, but the characters were on two different continents for a good portion of the story. Once I realized that they needed to be in more scenes together and the reader would then be able to feel their story more; another was layer completed. My third problem was that I used passive voice too much instead of active voice. I fixed that problem and ended up with another one.
I was so focused on the action verbs that I didn’t realize I was losing the flow of the paragraphs.
During the second major editing overhaul, I realized that as I was revising the manuscript to use more active voice, I removed the passive voice, but that meant that I was now starting too many sentences with “he, he, he and she, she, she.”
So, the problem was solved and I was very grateful to my editors at the publishing company for showing me that writing flaw.
The other major flaw that I had in my writing was that I used too many “said’s” in the dialogue.
For example, Mr. Shipley said, “Wait, I’ll be right there.” I learned that it’s better to rephrase that. Mr. Shipley stood up from his desk. “Wait, I’ll be right there.” The latter definitely makes the dialogue sequences have more action and follows the mantra of show, don’t tell. Once I rephrased my dialogue sequences, it was amazing to me what a difference it made.
The editing process for my newest romantic suspense novel, Bella Lucia was different.
I had more knowledge of what I needed to accomplish and my writing level was much improved. After my initial edits were completed, I forwarded the manuscript to my editor and continued along the editing process with her. Even to this day, I am continuing to learn more as I focus on my writing and learning more editing skills.
How you should look at editing
If you are a beginning writer, it is so important for you to have a professional editor review your work.
If you can’t afford to hire an editor, do your own homework and make sure you have good POV and don’t head hop. You need to use active, rather than passive voice. Steer clear of repeating words and starting sentences with he/she all the time. Make your dialogue into great action sequences. Keep your plot lines strong with characters that change and grow with the story. Don’t let the plot become convoluted.
Always be open to instruction from editors. If they see a problem, address it.
Once you’ve taken an open-minded look at their suggestions, if you don’t agree, fine, then walk away from their suggestions.
However, if you want to be successful, be open to constructive criticism.
That’s the only way to improve your writing and grow in your craft. Your readers will thank you!