Saturday, 7 May 2011

Editing -Love It Or Hate It?

I Love Editing - Is she mad? do I hear you murmur? Editing is hard work and certainly not considered the fun part of writing a novel.
It is when you are a disorganised author.
I can read and reread a chapter ten times and still not see where the weak spots and clumsy phrasing are. But when a critiqued chapter or a corrected manuscript arrives, I cannot wait to examine the ambiguous, the weak and the plain wrong those red comment boxes point out. Then of course they are glaringly obvious and take no time at all to tweak into flowing prose - I hope!

Those tiny edits, sometimes no more than a question mark or a highlighted word, make me read specific passages with finite attention to detail and even if I don't always agree with the suggestions, I am able to recognise the need for improvement and can usually come up with one of my own. The disadvantage is, I start changing whole sections of formerly acceptable narrative - but I'm learning to focus - slowly.

Living with a novel for months gives an author a unique perspective of their character's motivation, but have they managed to convey that view in the novel? For instance, in a mystery, an editor/critiquer may point out that they expected the heroine's brother was the culprit, when the author wrote him as the good guy - and was disappointed when a character the editor/critiquer liked, turned out to be the villain.

Readers invest time and emotion in your characters and can feel misled, and thus let down - so it's up to the author to make the characters' motivation clear - and an editor to point out when it isn't.  - so I love mine.


Mandy C. said...

A lot of writers dislike editing because they feel like their "artist expression" is being attacked. In reality, good editing frames the beauty in written works.

N. Gemini Sasson said...

I *love* the editing stage. It's like someone took the blinders off and I can suddenly see the glaring flaws that have been right in front of me all along.


I love working with a good editor and making the book the best it can be, but I'd hate it if they didn't get my work and asked for changes I didn't agree with.


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