Saturday, 7 May 2011
Editing -Love It Or Hate It?
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.
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