Bless Our Editors! By Hannah Alexander

Are some of the best editors in the business an endangered species? Please tell me it isn’t so. Pick up a book, any book, that hasn’t had the loving touch of a good editor on it, and you’ll see what a tragedy the publishing world could be in for. We lose perfection. We lose direction. We lose beauty and polish and charisma. No writer is an island, no matter how creative and insightful and stunning their words. I could not move forward without the guidance of my dear editing friends. What a wonderful symbiosis happens when a writer and an accomplished editor work together on a story. The writer feels freer to let go and allow her words to flow across the paper without her own editor on her shoulder–she knows her wise editor will catch the flaws and make her creation beautiful.

Now, I’m not saying that we writers need to get lazy and dump all our work onto an editor without rewriting and polishing and loving our characters, but there comes a time when we can no longer see clearly what our stories are about. That’s when we need fresh eyes. That’s why God made editors.

I spoke with a friend of mine who often edits my work, and i told her I was all messed up, writting the same scene over and over again without getting it right. I needed help. She told me to stop rewriting and move on. She would fix my mess. She did. And she pulled out those words and phrases that made my work shine. How does she do that? She edits. She knows how to cut away the unnecessary to showcase the beauty.

 

In this world of do-it-yourself publishing where an ebook can become a sudden, hot new hit, I see sadly that editors aren’t utilized as often as they should be. Spelling, grammar, a grasp of the best words are lacking. So many would-be writers fall short of the mark because, even though they may tell a good story, they tell it with a lack of finesse. Those who read the work, and, heaven forbid, like the work, learn that spelling isn’t as important as it once was. Grammar is a word becoming obsolete. Without the guidance of an editor, I can see the crisp style of good prose shattering and melting into mere words on a page, and often not even good words.

 

Please, if you write, whether it’s blog, editorial, letter to the editor or novel, swallow your pride and find a good editor. Try several different ones if you’re self-publishing. Ebooks are a particular concern, because the world is exploding with ebooks, anyone can write an ebook, it seems. Too many people are going to find that they won’t have a lot of sales unless they find a good editor first.

 

God bless our editors!

 

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About alexanderhodde

I love to write, I love to read (in that order) and I love to hike. My husband loves to fly remote control model airplanes, when he can get them into the air.
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5 Responses to Bless Our Editors! By Hannah Alexander

  1. Iola says:

    Excellent points! Many new and self-published authors are put off professional editing by the price, but that means they are sending their books out into the big world of publishing only half-finished. Authors often refer to their book as their baby – not editing is the equivalent of sending them out in the winter snow wearing nothing but a swimsuit.

    Editing it doesn’t have to be expensive. Just as these authors are learning their craft, there are freelance editors (like me) who are learning the craft and looking to partner with new writers.

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  2. Maureen Lang says:

    I’m just now going through edits on an upcoming title and so your post is so relevant to me! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve left a note on my manuscript thanking my editor for the catches she makes. Being an editor—having that sharp eye to catch and fix unwieldy phrases, double check on the clarity of certain statements, ask me to rethink a word choice—oh, my, I’m forever in the debt of a good editor! So glad you’ve taken the time to write about this today. 🙂

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  3. Thanks for the replies. This is something I’ve always preached about, because I’ve seen so many times how a good editor can change a whole book–and even change the course of a writer’s career. I’ve had two editors guiding me through the rewrite I’m doing now, and both women have so much to teach me, even after I’ve written close to thirty novels. I’ve decided to add a couple more editor contacts to my website, since this part of the process is so vital. And you’re the ones who’ve convinced me to do so.

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  4. Marianne says:

    Amen. i have not read self-published books for this very reason. If your book is good enough to write, shouldn’t it be good enough to do the very best?

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    • Same here, Marianne. I don’t trust them. It just frustrates me so much that we’re losing our well-edited novels to too many poorly edited ebooks. Of course, eventually the cream will rise, but I don’t want to be the filter through which the poorly written ones are sifted.

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