Editing is an art.
An art that I have yet to master because I am a free flowing, off the mast writer. I shun structure unless it is keeping the snow off my back or harboring me from lions, tigers, and bears…oh my…uhm. My job is tell a story in a fun, interesting way that keeps the reader amused, grabs their attention, and filled of twist and turns. It is not my job to thoroughly edit every punctuation mark. I am too busy writing to see the errors of my ways so I leave that to the pros. That is what we writers pay them to do.
Now, with that said, a writer should know the basics…I mean come on. Even I can tell when there is a break in sentence flow, sometimes, but not all the time. I write fast. I move from one story to the next with all the grace of Curly falling down a flight of stairs. My writing style, as I stated before, is free flowing. I write off the cuff and seldom if ever use an outline, which may come to a surprise if you read Fly Paper Soup. I used a chart to keep track of the murders and the antagonists.
Many writers I know use outlines and understand the rules of engagement. They write extraordinary stories. In no way am I taking away from their efforts. I am saying that I cannot write like that.
Now for my editing style. I punch out two thousand words or more and then I sit back and have a cup of coffee, walk the dog, eat a donut—anything to take my mind off what I just wrote. After about fifteen minutes or so, I will read it aloud. I find miss-spelled words or word usage errors, I find missing words, (like I said I write fast and do not realize I did not type a “to” or something like that). Then I move on to something else. The next day I will re-read it again and find more mistakes or decide to rewrite the whole thing. That is the extent of my editing.
Why? Well it is not because I am perfect. It is not because I am a grammar wizard, and it certainly is not because I am a writing master. Like Dirty Harry said, “A man’s got to know his limitations.” I do not know all the rules to writing nor do I want to know them. I want to write unencumbered by rules and regulations that may inhibit my ability to put forth an entertaining piece. Besides, all the noise in my head makes it hard to find a rule for this or that. I write, that is what I do.
When I’m finished writing I hand off my manuscript to my beta’s, proofreaders, and editor with my chest inflated—my eyes beaming with pride. Then they hand it back dripping in red ink and my ego deflates. Humble becomes my middle name. That is their job. That is what they do. Next, Book Covers.
Words From The Floor
So, you don’t think you are a writer because an editor said your writing sucks. Well, maybe it does, but that does not mean you are not a writer .
Editing is a treasured art only appreciated by writers. If an average editor is worth his/her weight in gold, then a good one is worth twice that and a great one is worth your first born child.
As an artist paints, sketches, molds, chisels, or snaps a shot, an editor meticulously reads each word, examines every punctuation mark, assures the story flows, and the characters remain true to themselves. It is not easy to do.
My recent book, Fly Paper Soup went through seven betas and each one found something worth correcting. Now, let us make something clear, a Beta reader reads for substance, for flow, and their job is to tell the author if the story works. Did it move them, did it capture their attention, was it interesting, or did it drag on, no spark, and cause the reader to jump off a bridge. After they dried off, they may find flaws in word usage, grammar, or any number of things. Your perfect work is not so perfect.
An editor digs, grinds, examines your story from top to bottom and then does it all over again. They are brutally honest and should be. If you have an editor that hands out lollipops and sprinkles everything with sugar, get rid of them.
You want your book top rated.
You want your book to compete.
You want your book in the hands of readers all over the world.
You want to make money…I hope.
If so, then stop being so timid. Write with passion. Write with zeal. Drive those pros and splash those cons. Have no fear. Read your work over and over again aloud, have others read it as you write. Take criticism constructively, even if presented with harsh and cruel honesty. The only way to grow as a writer is to know your faults and correct them. Then write, write, and write. Then write some more. When your betas deliver the news, be open to rewrites or changes they suggest.
Now when the editor delivers your manuscript back and it is dripping in red ink do not be discouraged. Examine the edits. Learn. Grow. Ask questions but never throw the manuscript away thinking you are a lousy writer. Make the chances. Accept your humanity. Swallow that pride.
You are a writer, first and for most. You write…that is what you do. Edit the best you can and move on…NEXT. Leave the real editing to the pros.
How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method [Kindle Edition]
Randy Ingermanson (Author)
A Magical Key to Unlock Your Creative Wizard
Are you writing a novel, but having trouble getting your first draft written? You’ve heard of “outlining,” but that sounds too rigid for you. You’ve heard of “organic writing,” but that seems a bit squishy to you.
Take a look at the wildly popular Snowflake Method—a battle-tested series of ten steps that jump-start your creativity and help you quickly map out your story. All around the world, novelists are using the Snowflake Method right now to ignite their imaginations and get their first drafts down on paper.
In this book, you’ll follow the story of a fictitious novelist as she learns to tap into the amazing power of the Snowflake Method. Almost magically, she finds her story growing from a simple idea into a deep and powerful novel. And she finds her novel changing her—turning her into a stronger, more courageous person.
Zany, Over the Top, and Just Plain Fun
How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method is a “business parable”—a how-to guide written in story form. It’s zany. It’s over the top. It’s just plain fun. Most important, it’s effective, because it shows you, rather than telling you.
You’ll learn by example how to grow your story idea into a sizzling first draft.
- How to define your “target audience” the right way, so you know exactly how your ideal readers think and feel. Forget what the experts tell you about “demographics.”
- How to create a dynamite selling tool that will instantly tell people whether they’ll love your story or hate it. And you want them to either love it or hate it.
- How to get inside the skin of every one of your characters—even your villain. Especially your villain.
- How to find a deep, emotively powerful theme for your story. Do you know the one best point in your novel to unveil your theme—when your reader is most eager to hear it?
- How to know when to backtrack, and why backtracking is essential to writing great fiction.
- How to fire-test each scene to guarantee it’ll be high-impact—before you write it.
I dream of writing,
A book people love,
A book people admire,
Not one that they shove.
It will be an original,
Nothing like it before,
New York will be calling,
Or the West Coast for sure,
I know that I am ready,
So here is the first word, Murder,
Not sure what the second will be,
I will have to explore further,
You see I am a want to be,
I strive to be like the best,
I have several stories,
Time to put a novel to test.
Oh if only I were like you know who,
Or a certain so and so,
I would be writing all the time,
But I hurt my elbow,
The faucet is dripping,
And the dog needs outside,
Car repairs are mounting,
Why don’t I just curl up and die?
To many distractions,
Facebook and all,
If I were a loner,
Is that Baseball?
I make up excuses,
For not writing, you see,
But after all no ones to blame,
Except little ole’ me.