A Word About Editing


Everyone needs an editor. No matter how carefully you think you can edit your own work, with a novel, it can't be done. You have to have a second set of eyes, preferably an experienced set, review and revise your work. 

It's not that you aren't smart enough or careful enough or anything that has to do with your writing skills. It is physically impossible for your mind to see the errors that it refuses to see. That's the thing about the human mind, it will only see what it expects to see. 

I've written articles for the magazine and read over them a hundred times before I turn it in, and my editor will see an obvious mistake that my mind would not see because it expected to see it written correctly. Everyone, including me, needs a good editor. 

They're not free though. Writing a novel is an investment in your creativity, your time, and also your money. 

If you're serious about publishing a novel, and you want the publishing world to take you seriously, then you have to think of it as a product rather than a piece of art. As with any product, it needs to be high quality with professional design and editing services. 

Shop around for these services. Talk to other writers for recommendations. Go to writing conferences and meet with professional editors to discuss your project. Writing a novel is a long process, and that process begins after all the words are written down. 

Before you pay for an editor, however, it is important to go through your completed novel at least once yourself to clean up any obvious plot or grammatical errors. You want to get as clean a copy as possible ready for the editor, so they can spend their expensive time focusing where they are most of use.

Finally, there are two rules to remember about editing:

1) It's always easier to edit than to create, so create a lot. Don't try to edit as you write, just let those words fly. Get them down. They don't need to be perfect, or even good, on the first pass.  

2) Never go back and edit your work during the creation process. It will only slow you down and prevent you from getting the manuscript completed. Get all the words out first. Edit later.

I'll leave you with a story about how Stephen King edits his own novels. He says that when he finishes the first draft of a novel, he puts it in a drawer and ignores it while he writes a second novel. Then he goes back and edits the first, because the space from it gives him a more critical eye for it.  

I'm not suggesting you try and copy what King does. He is a freak of nature, after all. But getting your head away from your story for a few days or weeks is important. It helps your mind see what is actually there rather than what it expects to be there.  

So, write first! Then... happy editing.