Thursday, January 10, 2013

Importance of Editing

When my sister and I were younger we loved to read books together. We would go to the library, hit the YA section and leave with an armful of books. Then we would read them aloud to each other while we took turns cleaning our bedroom or late at night when we were supposed to be sleeping but were really laying awake in our bunkbeds with a small lamp for light (usually this was my time to read to her until she fell asleep). We found some books that have been part of my "favorite books" collection for many years since that first time we read them (and loved them so much we reread them several times.)

However, our zest for some of these books were quickly staunched when within the first couple of chapters there were so many mistakes that it became clear there had been a lack of editing to some of these books. When the inaccurasies and the mistakes became so entirely obvious that we could no longer follow the story line without rereading a paragraph several times over (in order to discover what the author meant to say) we generally had to give up reading that book - and usually resorted to using it as a source of amusement whenever we discussed badly written books.

Sadly this is too often the case and I have seen more books that seemed to have skipped the editing stage and went directly from draft to published without being polished in between the two steps. I'm not going to say I am an excellent editor and that my books are perfect. In fact, you will probably find mistakes in this post and several before. I am far from perfect in my writing. However, I feel that even a person, such as myself, who doesn't have the skills to write perfectly, aught to take the time to find people who can help them with that editing.



When I come across a book or piece of writing that is poorly edited, I wonder how much the writer cared about what was written vs. how much they cared about seeing it in print. Personally I believe that if I love my writing, (which I do!!) then I would not throw it out into the world without first making it the best I possibly can. I will first do everything I can to edit, clean, polish, and show the world how important my writing is to me. If I love my writing and want other's to love it also, I have to allow them to see the story and not the mistakes I made out of carelessness.

Someone on my Author's Think Tank group said "Write like nobody will read it, edit like everyone will" (Still trying to hunt down the actual source of the quote.) I think that basically sums up exactly how I feel about editing.

I have recently joined several writers/authors/critique groups that are amazing. It always helps to have fresh eyes on your manuscript. I have found that having a supportive group of people can be uplifting, enlightening, and dead helpful! Especially when they are so passionate about the same things that matter to me. My writing has improved dramatically, my character's are more coherent, and my book has never been so clean and polished.

So thank you to all family, friends, and groups who have helped me get my books to that point they are at today.

7 comments:

  1. With Self-publishing on the rise, I see this more and more. However, I have read a few self-published titles that are beyond awesome. And the difference is that they either had a fantastic critique group or a great editor. It really does make a difference.

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  2. I agree, there are some really great self-published books about there, but they are the ones who do care about the quality of the finished product and not just getting it quickly to the printer. I've also read some very poorly edited indie published books. I remember the author, and I hesitate to buy from them again.

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  3. I am currently editing my WIP and this gave me a whole new perspective. I know it needs to be edited because it is full of mistakes. I never really though of it as 'showing the world how important it is to me'.

    Thank you. I am actually going to go edit now. :D

    Konstanz Silverbow
    nothoughts2small.blogspot.com

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  4. Wonderful post. It's too true. Editing also shouldn't be something one cringes at. Editing is where we see the diamond in the rough become a real jewel. And that quote is great! TFS

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  5. Good point. Nothing turns me off a book faster than typos and glaring mistakes. Thank you for being brave enough to have people read and correct your work!

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  6. Good editing definitely makes all the difference. As I grow better and better at writing (at least I hope I am), I notice the bad editing more and more, and I'm definitely more inclined to put the book down if it doesn't look like the author bothered to edit it properly. Excellent point, and amazing quote!

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