Your Editor is Your Best Friend

My editor is my best friend and she is remarkable.

This is because when she is editing my work she is not bothered about how I might feel when she fixes my mistakes or points them out. These mistakes can be continuity problems, grammatical slipups or any number of things I miss when I am in full creative flight.

So, in fact, she is my very best friend when she is not trying to be.

When my editor dispassionately points out my errors, she makes me look good to my readers. And that is what good friends do. They watch out for each other. She has my back!

If you, as a writer, don’t want to look stupid or unprofessional, make sure you have an editor like mine.

I dare not send anything out until Flo has run her red pen through it. And I am so grateful she does it. I cannot count the number of times she has saved me from appearing careless or like a grammar twit.

This blog will go to her before I post it. All the chapters I write for serials, my novels and short stories also always go to her.

Other work, like reports and commercial work, goes to another editor, not because she is incapable of editing this work, but because I don’t want to burden Flo with too much work. She also edits other Story Mint writers’ work. When she does that she makes the writers look good and she also makes The Story Mint look professional. She is brilliant.

The reason she is brilliant is because she makes me/us look good in public. My ideas remain undisturbed as they are the heart of all I write, but she polishes and clears away distracting errors.

And I am so grateful she is unafraid of offending me.

I risk looking sloppy unless her fresh set of eyes go over all I write. It is too easy to miss obvious mistakes when I or anyone else is the author. She picks up on errors in continuity as well as the myriad things a writer does not consider when filled with inspiration.  She makes sure my writing does not let me down. It is also wonderful to have her as a back stop, a second pair of eyes to go over my work and look at it as a reader would.

This is not just my opinion but the view of many publishers who have to look at manuscripts for a living. In her article, Do I really need an editor for my Self-published book?, Lucy Ridout says, ‘if you care about your reputation as an author, you’ll almost certainly want to bring in the experts and give your book a professional polish.’

Tanya Egan Thomas distinguishes between a developmental edit which focuses on the structure of a novel and a close copy edit. In her essay, 10 things your freelance editor might not tell you but should,she explains that one focuses on the plot and story line and the second focuses on punctuation and grammar.

She lists ten points that make editors priceless. Her fourth point:  You need to prepare yourself for feedback, criticism and direction is particularly valid.

I have written many blogs over the years about writing and, while I have known that much of my success is down to my editor, I have never acknowledged this. I think this is because her work is like housework. We all do it and people barely notice. Houses seem to magically tidy themselves. The same applies to writing. I write, she tidies it up and I write some more and so on.

My editor, as do all editors, wants me to succeed as a writer. She also has the expertise to put the final polish on everything I write. This is often not a skill writers have. I am the ideas person, the strategic thinker. Flo is the detail person who misses nothing and together we create something readers want to read. That’s every writers dream.

So I salute all editors, especially mine. She is the unseen warrior who makes me look good and gives me credibility as a writer. 

 

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Comments

A fresh set of eyes over your work is so important. Once your work is public not everyone will like it. An editor will give it professional polish. It's what writers need.
As you know, my editor, Lindell is my best friend! And trust me, she never holds back with her mighty red pen. And i appreciate the time she spends on my work so much. She is a gem.
Everything you said is true. As authors we get too close to our work and dont always pick errors including story inconsistencies.
Great blog, Suraya.
I totally agree Ken. I've just gone through my book of short stories a final time after my editor went through them and I know that the suggestions she made gave the stories greater clarity and professionalism. Thanks Rosemary and you are 100% right...we do get too close to our work and it really helps to have someone else go over it....someone who doesn't mince words and is truly honest. Once it is out in the world, it is incredibly difficult to reclaim it and smooth over our damaged reputations.
Thank you so much for taking the time to comment.