TGFE or Thank God For Editors

Yesterday, one of my three editors/beta readers returned my manuscript, full of little notes and corrections.  I’m always nervous to find out what people will think.  Even though I’ve hired them to be honest and to tell me what works, what doesn’t work, where I wrote “their” instead of “there”, etc., I still get jittery.  What if I don’t like what they think?  What if they think I’m a total idiot because I forgot to add a comma?  What if they think the story sucks and that I just need to rewrite the whole darn thing?

Fortunately, she loved the story and made several quite useful suggestions.  It’s so nice getting an outside perception.  “No, you don’t need this.  You need to expand on this.”  I know what’s going on in my head in the story, but having someone who doesn’t know let you know what’s missing or what is not needed… oh my gosh, this is why writers have beta readers and editors!

My favorite part is that the program she used to edit allowed her to go through and add in little corrections that I’d missed!  DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH BUSY WORK THAT IS GOING TO SAVE ME?!  I’m not even going to lie to you.  I am a lazy person and I hate going back and fixing every itsy bitsy little detail.  I will, because I want my book to be professional quality, but oh man!  I am so excited about that.  I can’t even tell you.

Her final note on the last page of the manuscript really made my day.

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Now I am even more excited to get this book done and out there!

In other news, I’ve been thinking about my newer projects.  I will be working on getting the third CT book started, but I also want to get some new stuff out there.  There is one story I’ve had in my head for ages, and I’ve tried multiple times to get it started, but somehow, something always feels off.  That’s not a new feeling.  It took me four failed attempts and two years to get Cemetery Tours right.  In the first draft, Michael Sinclair’s character was named Nick Tanner and he had to travel all across the country to find a dead guy’s fiancee.  I definitely like the story better now.

I realized today that one of my problems with the new story is my female protagonist.  She’s very serious and very quiet, and it’s hard for me to write characters like that because I am so the opposite.  That’s something I love about writing Kate from CT.  She’s so funny and neurotic and outspoken.  That’s the kind of female character I enjoy writing.  When I write the timid, serious characters, I think, “Oh my God, how do you have friends?  You’re so boring and annoying!”  I think this character has a lot of potential, but she needs to be more fun and interesting.  I also realized that I’ve been trying to write the story as an adult novel while, in all honesty, I’m pretty sure it’s more of a YA.  Some reconfiguration might be in order, but you know, when isn’t it?  The most important thing is to keep writing and to keep moving forward.

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15 thoughts on “TGFE or Thank God For Editors

  1. It’s refreshing to know that other writers out there have the same feelings towards getting back the edits. When I see all those red lines and suggestions bubbles, I feel stupid, but then I remember, my brain knows what I was trying to say, so I don’t see the grammatical mistakes during my self editing.

  2. I presently have no editors or beta readers so I am constantly self editing. And I feel like a tool when I read over something twice and it is the third time that I realize I have done something wrong. I especially feel awful when I have combed and combed the MS, sent pages to someone in the industry, go over it again after I have sent the query and then realize there was a spelling or grammar error. Then I sit around and fret over that mistake that I sent. And when I get a rejection, I actually wonder if that might have been why.

    “She doesn’t know how to use commas correctly! We’re not publishing her!”

    I obsess even more when considering self-publishing because now it is all on me. I am terrified of publishing, then finding a mistake after it has all been said and done. Sigh.

    #writerproblems

    • Hey Charli! I got your Facebook message, and while I am not an editor by trade, I am not a bad proof-reader. I have served as beta-reader and proof-reader before and I would be delighted to go over your manuscript!

      It’s a stressful and crazy industry, and we might be crazy for our willingness to put up with it, but I just don’t think we can help it! It’s what we do!

  3. I like what you are saying about editing etc. For me as a non-native English speaking/writing person, it is even more important to have someone who doesn’t judge you to harshly. Even though due to my personal spiritual belief I actually don’t care if a person likes or doesn’t like the content of my book because they don’t understand it. What I am saying is, I wouldn’t buy a book about a subject I am not familiar with or interested to read about. From an professional editor though I do expect a certain openness to help me with the flow of the subject and of course most important the spelling and grammar. As you can see I am not a novel writer and perhaps never will be but than again you never know. For my new book I have started I do would like to hear your opinion in finding a professional editor. What do I have to look for besides expertise and of course the fees? I would appreciate if you could tell me about it. Thank you very much.

    • Hi, K.S.! When I look for editors, my main objective is finding someone I know is intelligent (and good at grammar because I’m terrible at grammar), who pays attention to detail and will notice things like continuity errors, and whom I know I can trust. Trust is essential, not only because you’re handing over something that you’ve poured your very heart and soul into, but because you need someone who is going to be totally honest with you. A good editor is not someone who will tell you, “Your book is great! Don’t change a thing!” That’s a good friend or a good enabler. You need a person to say, “This wording sounds awkward” or “That doesn’t go with what you said at an earlier page” or “This character would never say that.” As for finding that person, I’ve been very, very lucky in that I know several editors who have been willing to read my work over and mark it up. In fact, I have a meeting with one of them tomorrow morning to go over my latest manuscript. I’ve also connected with editors over social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn. In this industry, you can almost always find someone who knows someone else and can recommend someone to you, and that’s a good thing! I hope this has helped a little!

      • Hi Jackie,
        Yes it did. Just one more question, what is the price point for editing? I know this is sensitive, but for how much money I can pay a prof. editor? See the first time around it was done by a person I do know very well and has a Masters Degree in English Literature. However, some concern has come up and I am in need of giving my book some good review.
        Thanks again for your input.

      • It all depends, really. I’ve known editors who will charge by the hour, maybe $10 an hour. I’ve also known some who will charge $300 for the whole book, not matter how long it takes. There are also editors who will do it out there simply for the joy of editing and for the chance to add it to their resume. I have served as a beta reader on a few occasions, searching for typos, places where the book didn’t make sense, etc… I did it for the experience and as a way to get my foot in the door. It all really depends on the editor.

      • Thank you Jackie you really have giving me some inside into the author/publishing world. Even though I am totally new to all this bit like you I am very head strong and know what I want and do what I please. I am also open to advice and constructive critique, if it is a real one.

      • You’re so welcome! Yes, I’m still learning the ropes as well, but if you want to do it and you know what you want, then you go for it. Where there’s a will, there’s a way! And know that all the indie authors I’ve connected with are just the nicest, most supportive people ever, and will always be happy to give you some advice, do a review swap, etc. 🙂

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