Back in the day, before the idea of writing ever entered my thoughts, the mention of an editor brought one name to mind: Perry White. I was first introduced to the editor-in-chief of the Daily Planet in comic books. Yes, I read comic books (I had brothers). Oh, the excitement of opening a new comic book!
Breathe, Betty, get back to the subject.
Where was I? Oh, yes, editors, and how to choose one. If the company name is Dewey, Cheatham & Howe, don’t go there. April Fool’s! 😉
This may surprise you, but editors are not the enemy. In fact, their business is to make our writing the best it can be.
Helpful Hint #1: If you have a fear of editors, pass your writing through a good critique loop or group first. Work on your manuscript until it is as clean as you and your team can get it, then look into hiring an editor.
I happen to love working with a good editor. They make my prose look professional. A good editor will save me from embarrassing myself. I have a gift for using the wrong word and don’t even ask me about commas. We seldom get along. It doesn’t matter where I put one, it gets removed.
Editors sometimes get a bad rap. Why? Writers can be peevish about their “babies.” When I’ve finished writing my story, it is (of course) purr-fect. Then it goes to the editor. I wait. And wait. And then, I worry. Anxiety. Angst. Surely, it’s been too long. My manuscript must be terrible! ←Yes, that is an exclamation mark, and yes, I’m shouting at this point. 😊
Then it appears—as if by magic—the email with the galley attached. My tummy tightens. I click on it with great trepidation. Will the document be flooded with red marks and comment balloons? Big, overblown comment balloons full of writing and questions and … heaven forbid, “What were you thinking?”
After a fit of crying, I go back to the document and one-by-one, tackle the changes and suggestions. And I soon realize they are all good and often thoughtful. There may be one or two that are misunderstandings, but those are also helpful.
Helpful Hint #2: An editor’s “misunderstanding” means I need to clarify what I’m trying to say, so the reader doesn’t get confused.
So, the editor has done extensive work. But she has not cleaned up my manuscript for me, she’s left suggestions that I can take or leave. I do the cleanup. And, as the author, I have the right to argue my point. A good editor will listen and give her opinion. The publisher will have the final say.
One excellent way to find a good editor: Pray, first and foremost. This person can be invaluable. If a writer believes their work is important, then they will invest in a good editor. Those who are working with a publishing house will likely be given an editor (as I am). In any case, pave the way with ample prayer. I pray for my editor as they tackle my work, and then I prayerfully consider their changes.
A second way: Pop back by during the month of April to see what our writers have prepared for our readers.
The writers of Inspired Prompt have been assigned a task: to help you find a good editor. What do you look for? How much can you expect to pay? What type of editor do you need? We will also interview an editor.
By the end of the month, it is our hope that our readers will be better equipped for their writing journey. As always, send us any questions in the comment section of our blog posts. We’re happy to help.
Writing Prompt Challenge – Your editor highlights this paragraph: Emily cried her eyes out when she received the letter. She felt as though her heart would burst. How would you fix it? Comment with your answer. Remember: show, don’t tell. Best answer wins a $5 Starbucks card!