Thursday, November 7, 2013

Edits - You gotta love them. By Rita Karnopp

I’ve often heard it said that writers a bit arrogant, they hate anyone making an off-handed comment about their baby.  What you ask?  The truth is, writing is a lot of pressure; demands, deadlines, choices, habits, goals, and don’t forget we must be creative.  That doesn’t always mean an author is arrogant – they're just protective of their babies.  J

So let’s face it, edits are a bit difficult to face.  They really shouldn’t be – but our egos get a bit bruised.  I’ve always had the belief you can either handle it the easy way or the hard way.  Choice is yours.  So what do I mean by that?

So I finished my book; I met my deadline. Yippee.  Yet, I had a lot of personal issues (surgery, work demands, worry about children, etc.) at the time and I truly knew down deep – it was a great suspense – but maybe it needed a little more work.  So my editor gets it and points out a few holes, a couple of issues not resolved, and maybe some cleaning up is needed that should have been done- at least must be done to make the book the best it can be.

Hmmm . . . so this is not what I wanted to hear.  Right?  Right!  Now, there are two ways I can handle this scenario.

The Hard Way – When I first started writing it was soooo hard to hear anything negative about my writing.  Why?  I’m not sure – as time went on – I welcomed those comments from editors, so I could learn – improve – grow – and ultimately write better and better.  I believe this is something the novice writer must always experience – and learn from.

So – the hard way.  Well, it goes like this.  “What?  Holes in my storyline?  Not even possible. I was so careful.  I know there aren’t any holes.  How rude!  Issues not resolves – not possible.  I like how the story flowed and . . . and not every problem in life is resolved.  As for cleaning up – isn’t that what an editor is for??

Okay – the knee-jerk reaction is ‘defensive.’  That should never be the case.  If you want to become a better writer, listen to editors with an open mind.  Why do they feel the way they do?  Would the editor’s suggestions make the book better?  I’ll bet 95% of the time that answer is a resounding yes.  Drop that chip off your shoulder and allow yourself to consider the comments your editor is making.  They aren’t making ‘edits’ to point out how smart they are . . . it’s all about making your book better – and the bottom line – help you become a better writer.

Personally – I believe editors are priceless.  I’m so close to my story – I need the outside, unprejudiced review to see flaws for what they are.  I certainly don’t want my readers to point them out to me.  Yikes!

The Easy Way - This boils down to simply being opened minded and above all grateful the editor cares enough to do a good edit of your book.  Yep, how invaluable is that?  I believe it's priceless.

Another way to look at this is – we all hate . . . hate . . . hate . . . bad reviews.  A good editor will minimize those ‘hurtful one star reviews’ just by making edits that resolve issues you might hear about from readers.  Let’s face it; readers today are intelligent and savvy.  You need to be ‘on your game’ to entertain them.

When you receive edits - have a positive attitude with energy and a willingness to work the problems/issues through – resulting in a tighter, absolutely great read.

Don’t worry – The worst thing you can do is worry or be embarrassed about it.  Thrashing edits through ranting and raving to this writer friend … and to that writer friend is unproductive.  So you thought you were done – face it – you just don’t want to sit down and do the re-write.  It’s work and you want to throw a tantrum first.  That is so counter-productive.

I truly don’t know anyone who has written a book perfect the first go-round.  I like to think I write a very tight, high-octane, totally paced story that will require minimal rewriting.  If that isn’t the case, I’m just relieved my editor cares enough to ‘wake me up’ and request changes to make my story better.

You can either waste days with frustration and anger or sit down – tackle the task, and when you re-submit you know – phew! That really needed a face-lift.  Dear editor - thank you . . . thank you . . . thank you!


Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I'm always glad to find authors smart enough to know the value of us editors. A lot aren't, and sadly, their work shows it. But writing is a craft, and the revision and editing stages are where that attention to craft pays off.

Thanks for reminding everyone of the value of us editors!

Ginger Jones Simpson said...

While I agree that editors are valuable, we must be careful not to accept everything they say as gospel. I've had editors with small publishers whose only qualification was the fact they too were authors. I recently read an edited book that was so poorly written, I couldn't believe it was edited at all. While I truly appreciate the time and effort that goes into the task, not everyone who calls themselves an editor is one.

On the other never hurts to have feedback, and having an open mind is always helpful as we continue to grow in our craft.

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