Edit : To prepare (something written) to be published or used: to make changes, correct mistakes, etc.
Without a doubt, one of my least favorite verbs in the English language. Editing, as necessary as it is, can be quite tedious and frustrating. When beginning a new project, I often think to myself: I will do this, but I’m not going to like it.
It’s a rare occurrence for me to read anything and not find a mistake. Authors nowadays, myself included, commonly tinker with grammatical rules. (“Rules” is also on my list of least favorite words).
Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that we merely use guidelines in our writing. As writers, we are usually aware of our failures or inconsistencies. My worst foible as a “writer” is that I am mercilessly inconsistent with my use of commas. All the commas are legal, but the same comma rules are not used throughout.
In this day and age, anyone can pick up a computer, pen a story and publish it. However, not everyone should. Don’t get me wrong, this is not meant to be a message of discouragement. Write your story, but pretty please have someone edit it. It’s a necessary evil to the process. A reader may like your topic, voice and story, but cannot get through the jungle of mistakes while reading.
I have seen many book reviews where the reader says: “I really wanted to like this book, but more editing was necessary.” Another common opinion is: “I couldn’t finish. The mistakes were too distracting.”
The bottom line is that the reader is rooting for you. They have decided to read your work and devoted time to doing so. They don’t want this to be a waste of their time- they wish to be entertained, escape into the story, awaken their imagination or to be challenged. They want the writer to be good…great, if possible.
Everyone is not going to enjoy your particular genre or the story you have to tell, but if someone is interested in your genre and can’t read it because of the errors- that’s a problem.
It doesn’t need to cost you an arm and a leg. Befriend readers that devour books. They will gladly help with your project. Readers always have a lot of opinions about what they have read, and many of them will be valuable to your project. Be willing to listen to the thoughts of others, while still maintaining your voice.
Let me leave you here with a little hope. I received my “Writer’s Digest” yesterday. For those that don’t know, it’s a magazine to help writers with all manner of their craft.
Page 7 and 8 can be found between 64 and 65. This is a magazine that hammers home the importance of editing all the time. I’m going to let this slide only because it is their “Creativity Issue” and perhaps they were thinking outside of the box. I doubt it, but sometimes grace is such a beautiful thing to bestow.
So I hope you find a good “editor” for your project or readers with a lot of grace to give. If you find both- there can be no stopping you.
2 thoughts on “Editing”
Great article! Like you, I find several errors in published books and I always yell out (to no one in particular), “Wasnt the editor suppose to catch this?” You have an aunt who reads a lot (!) and who has plenty of grace for you. I enjoyed pre-reading your last book, and I’m always available to read through your work in progress 😉. Love you!
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Thank you Aunt Kathy! I will accept that grace even if it may be laced with a little nepotism. Love you too!