Editing: What The Hell?

Posted by on Sep 14, 2011 in Uncategorized | 14 comments

Sadly, editing is a part of every “want to be a published writers” life. Maybe I shouldn’t say sadly, because I know some people really enjoy it. I may be one of them…okay not yet, but I’m getting there.

I’ve been looking forward to editing SHIFT, the Sequel to EXILED for a while now. In fact, I’ve been talking about how excited I am to jump into edits for nearly 6 weeks. That’s right, I was supposed to start the first week of August. I gave the manuscript time to breathe, I read it, I made a list of major and minor edits, I was ready. Since then…I’ve done 2 chapters. Sad I know.

There’s a lot of reasons I haven’t actually got it done, mostly because I’ve been procrastinating, but that isn’t important. What’s important is, it’s a part of the publishing process.

I don’t love editing. I love writing. Straight up, blank page that I’m going to fill up with words I’ll despise editing in the future, writing. A lot of writers fear the blank page. I am not one of them. I love the blank page. The blank page is endless. The opportunity to create on the blank page is infinity. The lack of editing on the blank page is wonderful. But I’m rambling again aren’t I? We’re not talking about the blank page…that’s for another day. Today we’re talking about editing.

As I said in yesterday’s post about publishing, I’m not going to give you advice. If you want an opinion, I’m happy to share. Today I just want to talk about it.

Everyone has a process for editing, and every way is different. Some people love it, others hate it, some are undecided. I don’t love editing for the simple fact that it’s not creating in the way I like to create. When you’re editing, a minor change in one chapter, can mean hours of revisions in other chapters. It’s the butterfly effect of writing a novel. If it’s a major change, it can mean weeks of rewriting. Those rewrites, technically, are in first draft form, which means revising them to bring them up to par with the rest of your story. In other words, *WARNING – The following sentence may use…okay, DOES use, vulgar language* editing is a bitch. Yeah, I said it. I’ll say it again. Editing. Is. A. Bitch.

Alright, now that I got that out of the way…

Editing – for me – is the longest process in it’s entirety. I’ll spend four times longer editing my book, then I will outlining and writing the first draft combined. But, editing is a must have, don’t even think about moving on without it, necessary evil.

Yes, you heard that correctly. Straight from the mouth that just wasted 3 minutes of your time, complaining about it, and procrastinating to get to the point.

What’s that point again? Editing has to be done.

Why am I bringing this up? It’s not because my books are perfect, or error free in any way, if you think they are, I’ll spare you the heartache – they’re not. I’m saying this because of the lack of care I find some writers take in their own books. This isn’t a stab at anybody, just an observation.

Editing is expensive. Believe me, I know. I’m not sure about my U.S. counterparts, but I spoke with over a dozen professional editors in Canada for EXILED. The cheapest price I was given (keep in mind this is just a basic edit ie. grammar and spelling) was $1500. The most expensive was $4000. Yes. FOUR THOUSAND DOLLARS! I’m sure it’s needless to say, but I didn’t go with the $4000 editor, but it still wasn’t cheap.

Does the high price I pay for editing mean I can’t publish the sequel as quickly as I’d like? Yes.

Was I happy with the result? Absolutely. I wouldn’t have done it any other way.

Editing needs to be done. I’m not saying you have to go out and spend $2500 of your hard earned money on editing, but at the very least, get some great beta readers. Try not to use friends and family. Get someone who will be straight up with you. And by straight up, I don’t mean harsh, and mean in ripping your hard work apart, I simply mean honest. You don’t have to be mean to be honest. If you don’t have anyone like that, spend some time on Twitter, they’re are a ton of amazing people there. Aspiring writers just like yourself. At the very least, get a fresh sets of eyes to look over your book for grammar and spelling! Sometimes, that alone can make a world of difference to your story.

I’m not saying any of this to tear anyone down. Of course, there are exceptions. Some writers are amazing writers, who also happen to be incredible at editing their own work. I am not this way. Most of the writers I know, are not this way. We have beta readers or critique partners, some – like me – hire a professional editor as a final proof reader.

I’m definitely not saying everyone needs to hire a professional editor, although I personally would recommend it, but if you’re going to take something you’ve worked incredibly hard on, and throw it to the masses for consumption, you owe it to yourself to make sure it’s as great as it can – and deserves – to  be. And sometimes, you need to accept you just can’t do that alone.