I’ve taken on the challenge of an A-Z during April – one post each day on a chosen theme. My theme? Books and writing, of course…
E is for Editor
Book No. 5 (and yes, I’m close to landing on a title) is off being assessed by my fabulous editor so it’s a great opportunity to talk (again) about what an editor does.
It’s at about this stage of the process that I stop stressing about finishing the book and begin stressing about whether my editor will like it – and that’s the ludicrous part of the process. Even though it means so much when she comes back and tells me she’s enjoyed the book, it’s more about how it can be made better.
And there’s the rub. The thing is, I’m not contracting her to like my book – her job is to help me make this the best damn book that I can write at this point in time. Yet, I still want her to like it.
So what does a good editor do? A good editor is behind every single book that you’ve enjoyed. Well, almost every story – there are some writers who can sell craploads of books without having engaged an editor. I’m not that writer.
A great editor gets into your head and somehow knows the story that you’re trying to tell and makes suggestions to help you tell it better. A great editor makes you want to work harder to be a better writer – and in the process make her own job harder to find suggestions to help you tell it better.
A great editor calls you out when you’re being lazy (and yes, I already know which passages they are in Book No. 5) and when you’re over-writing. A great editor helps you see the story as a reader rather than as a writer. She’s the voice of reason when that line that sounds so incredibly clever in your own head falls decidedly flat on the page.
A great editor makes the suggestions and lets you make your own mind up about which way you want to go – after all, it’s your story. Inevitably though, she’s right. Not that she ever gets the credit for that. And that’s the whole point of a great editor – it should appear to be seamless to the reader. A great editor wants your book to be the best it can possibly be – even though it’s your name on the front of it.
Having said all of that, I’ve just written a killer line for Book No.6 that I so hope get’s the little “love this” comment when finally it gets in front of her…but that’s another couple of months down the track.
Other posts about editors and what to expect…
It’s Lovin’ Life Linky time…
It’s Thursday, so it’s time to look for our happy and share it about a bit. The Lovin’ Life Linky is brought to you by Team Lovin’ Life: Deep Fried Fruit, Debbish, Seize the Day Project, Write of the Middle, 50 Shades of Age, and, of course, me.