Terrific, comprehensive discussion of editing, editors and where to find them.
In several places on this site I mention how much language means to me, the marvelous, textural, passionate subtleties of English…and Spanish, Portuguese and Italian.
Here’s a favorite from my writing role model, beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti. It still has the power to shower me with goose bumps and make my muse sit up and pay very close attention! Enjoy…
Constantly risking absurdity
whenever he performs
above the heads
of his audience
the poet like an acrobat
climbs on rime
to a high wire of his own making
and balancing on eyebeams
above a sea of faces
paces his way
to the other side of the day
and sleight-of-foot tricks
and other high theatrics
and all without mistaking
for what it may not be
For he’s the super realist
who must perforce perceive
before the taking of each stance or step
in his supposed advance
toward that still higher perch
where Beauty stands and waits
to start her death-defying leap
a little charleychaplin man
who may or may not catch
her fair eternal form
spreadeagled in the empty air
USA Today bestselling author L. j. Charles, author of the Everly Gray series and other wonderful books, became my second client when I made Demon for Details “official.” This was her reply when I asked her advice about how to explain what I do:
“Your first read-through is a high-level view of the manuscript, a global approach to plot and rhythm. During this stage you note any plot holes, any discrepancies in character development, and any pacing issues.
“During the second stage of your editing process, you shift your focus to detailed editing of sentence structure, punctuation, and grammar issues.
“In the third stage of your process [Note: my fees include a second detailed edit at no extra charge], you shift back to a more global view to take a final look at the story in its entirety, and to pick up any missed details.
“One of the most important things you do is ‘rest’ between each of these phases of editing to clear your mind, and to let the story settle before moving on to the next phase of editing. [Note: this explains why my turnaround times are longer than many of my peers’]
“The other gift you have as an editor is flexibility. You’re able to flow with how your authors work. We don’t all approach writing in the same way, and you’re able to respect that and give us the space we need to create.
“And you honor the story, which is completely separate from the author. In that final read-through, you approach the story from the reader’s perspective. I think this is critical to the success of a novel.”
Thanks again, L. j.! You’re the best.
No holds barred, and well worth reading…and keeping as a reference
SciFi/Fantasy author CB Williams volunteered to share her recent experience with my new Story Consult service.
Story consults have always been part of the overall editing package, but after several author requests for consults while they were in the middle of their manuscript, I decided to offer it as a separate service. Without further ado, here is CB Williams!
I was stuck. My writing was suddenly boring.
Truth be told, I was bored, too. Didn’t even want to finish my manuscript.
As for my characters, they were considerably annoyed…at me, for writing them into a boring standstill. We all felt like we had been walking uphill in sand for days. (For a very funny peek at what the characters were doing: http://chroniclesofcammy.com/2015/04/18/getting-my-nature-on/)
It did not.
So I did what I should have done a couple thousand words ago. I contacted Faith Freewoman for a story consult. We negotiated the cost, and I outlined what I’d written, where I was planning to go and how I wanted to do it. I included a list of issues that were bothering me (aside from the boredom) and sent it all in an email.
A couple of days later, Faith came back with her analysis, which included a plethora of ‘what ifs’ and ‘why nots’…all sorts of suggestions, questions and directions that got my creative juices going as we batted ideas back and forth.
It was fabulous! It was fun!
Best of all, my characters and I are longer bored.
If you have reached an impasse in your storytelling, I highly recommend a story consult from Faith. They don’t call her Demon for Details for nothing!
No matter how good we are self-editing, we can’t catch every unclear meaning or typo in our own work. But there are different kinds of editors, and if we have a limited budget, we might not know what type of editors are most important for our success. Let’s take a closer look at the types of editing and when we might (or might not) need that type of editing.