Editing! Hooray!

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Today, I wanted to say a few words about the editing process. Editing your manuscript, whether it’s a novel, a screenplay, a short-story or whatever you’re working on, is easily the hardest part. It’s where you separate the wheat from the chaff, sotospeak. To say it in another way, it’s the part of the process where you see what’s good, what’s not, and you get into the nitty-gritty of polishing or improving the text.

It’s also where reader feedback becomes crucial.

Being a writer means people read your stuff. That’s hard for a lot of writers who dread negative feedback.

“Egads!” she cried. “What if they don’t like my work?!” Her mind reeled with negative thoughts. A sinister voice began to whisper, if they don’t like your work, they must not like you… 

It’s just not true. You and your work are not one and the same entity. Both grow over time, and both need critical feedback from folks you can trust in order to identify the weak spots and then hammer them out on the anvil of practice.

My  novel, Twin Souls, is being reviewed and edited by myself, my boyfriend, and another friend of mine. All of us are avid readers. We have similar interests, but generally we’ve read a lot. This is essential. If you’re writing in a genre, you should have read as much of that genre as you can stomach. You need to know the sea before you can sail it, or map out the land before you attempt a long journey across it. Familiarize yourself with the terrain, that way you can have an idea of what’s been successful.

In summary, it’s important to have friends you can trust and to know your genre. Let your friends read your work, listen to their feedback. Don’t argue. Don’t get defensive. Just listen. Then think about it. Talk about it with them. Work through disagreements – it’s all part of the process, and if you think you won’t have to do the same thing with your agent,  your publisher and fellow authors in that sunny future where you’re successful – you’re dead wrong and probably won’t get there.