Dear I’m an English Major,
Me, too! That and twenty-five cents won’t get me a cup of coffee much less a polished book. Basically, even if I wrote Elements of Style, even if I was Shakespeare (okay, maybe not Shakespeare), I would still need an editor. Why? Because there are few human beings who can look at their own work objectively. If we could, we would catch ever plot hole, hear every piece of clanging dialogue that ruins our carefully drawn characters, and never miss a pacing problem. We would catch every missing conjunction, misspelled word and wayward apostrophe that found it’s (its) way into its (it’s).
If you’re still not convinced, ask yourself these three questions:
1) Have you ever asked someone if you look fat in a new dress?
2) Have you ever uttered the words ‘what do you think?’ (about anything)
3) Have you ever talked through a problem late into the night with someone you trust?
If the answer to any (or I bet all) of these questions is yes, you need an editor. We search out that critical eye and the honest voice in our lives and we should do the same with our work. Our lives and our books will be better for it.
USA Today & Amazon Best-selling Author
Flawed English major/content editorial client
Secret Relations, Book #3 in the Finn O’Brien Thriller Series launches March 3, 2018
Happy Reading Everyone!
You may know pluperfect from a transitory verb. You may be meticulously accurate with every comma, semi-colon, quotation mark, em-dash and ellipse. You may be a practiced writer fluent in multiple literary forms, but you cannot read your own work with a neutral, critical eye.
The act of writing is a solitary endeavor. A story is conceived in the mind and is played with, tweaked, adjusted, re-written until it becomes, in the writer’s mind a complete and sensible whole. That process often involves input from other writers and beta readers while the work is in progress. These are trusted voices that become part of the process as you bring the story from your mind to its final form. The input you’ve received has been beneficial in making it a better work. But each of these sources has an investment, either as support from a writers group or from someone, like a relative or friend with a degree of closeness – either way, each source has a personal investment in you. However incidental or deep that investment is, it is not neutral.
Your finished book was hard work; countless rewrites and revisions prompted by your own senses and perhaps the input from those other writers and/or beta readers. It’s time to step away and put the work before neutral eyes. An editor provides that neutral set of eyes; think of it as a reality check.
The only investment an editor has is to help your story be the best it can be. An editor will tell you how you sound to a discerning ear reading the work for the first time. An editor will hear when the pacing begins to drag or a character or plot point is inconsistent. Stilted dialog or rambling narrative will sound to an editor like fingernails on a chalkboard. An editor will hear if what you wrote is actually what you meant. An editor’s job is to tell you precisely what those clinkers are, and if she is good, she will tell you why something doesn’t work and suggest solutions. It’s a collaborative effort.
If you do not feel you need a full content edit then opt for a critical read and respond. At the very least, get a copy/line edit. You cannot always see your mistakes – not the big ones or the small ones. Shamelessly I’ll say I’d love to read your work. And yes, there is a fee – it’s a profession.
ASCENT OF ICE by H. O. Charles is available today
The final volume of The Fireblade Array.
Medea is trapped in a fortress made of shadows, Artemi has had her life rent from her yet again, and fate looms over all.
Some heroes battle to save the world from the icy grip of darkness, but others fight to make it darker still.
Will the boundaries between light and night, ice and fire, love and hate ever be restored?
Rebecca Forster’s 3 Finn O’Brien Thriller, SECRET RELATIONS is available for pre-order now with a March 3, 2018 publish date.
The last thing Finn O’Brien wants is to come between his partner and her daughter, but Amber Anderson is desperate for his help. Her new boyfriend, an undocumented immigrant, is missing. Uneasy about keeping a secret from his partner and hindered by the prejudice and politics of the LAPD, Finn is tempted to turn a deaf ear to the girl’s plea – until the first body is found.
Yes! EVERYONE needs an editor, and there’s some evidence to suggest that overconfidence can lead to more mistakes!
Marianne is always picking up my typos, so I must be very clever indeed… or too confident. If you want to save money, I would suggest getting a reasonably literate friend or two to read through your drafts. You’ll be surprised how much they pick up. Another thing to consider is what kind of writing you’ve been doing as an English major (ignoring for a moment what you’ve been reading). I did an essay subject at university, but I soon found novel writing employed a whole different raft of writing skills, for which essay writing offered very little foundation. The way I was taught (not sure if different in the US) involved very strict limitations on the usage of commas, third-person perspective, ‘masculine’ statements, rigid paragraph formation etc. etc. All of these rules had to be unlearned.
An editor can also point out the bits where your story might be drifting, find plot holes, and tell you where something needs more explanation. (Note my Oxford comma, which I would NEVER have used in academia!)
Ever wonder what industry professionals think about the issues that can really impact our careers? Each month The Extra Squeeze features a fresh topic related to books and publishing.
Amazon mover and shaker Rebecca Forster and her handpicked team of book professionals offer frank responses from the POV of each of their specialties — Writing, Editing, PR/Biz Development, and Cover Design.
Remember use our handy dandy contact form to ask a question.