I’m having a great time on this little PEI promotional tour of my novel, Elora of Stone. Everywhere I go, it seems someone is happy to talk to me about seeing me in the paper, or hearing me on the radio. Children are asking when the next book in the Legend of Rhyme series will be available.
I’m having a blast, and I expect it will keep getting more and more fun. (Once all the lovely snow is gone and people can stop hibernating in their igloos and leave their homes.)
I’ve been surprised at how much I’m enjoying my school visits. Being in these classrooms in front of groups of children is feeding my soul like nothing I’ve experienced before. These eager readers are an absolute joy to spend time with.
One of the things I talk about with the kids when I visit their classrooms, is the importance (and pain) of revising their writing. And that always leads to a little discussion about my editor, Christine Gordon-Manley.
I explain to the kids that after I write a first draft which I think is very good, I send it to Christine who makes suggestions about what things I could change to make an even better story. When I read her suggestions, I realize how much better I could make the story. And then when I make those changes, I send the story back to her and we do the same thing again. Until the story that I thought was very good at the beginning, I realize was not very good, and the end result is something brilliant.
Working with an editor is not the equivalent of having someone proofread your work.
(I’m trying really hard to come up with the perfect metaphor here but I haven’t had coffee yet.)
Christine does a thorough edit to catch mistakes, yes, but where her true gift is, is in the area of “making it better.” This woman has an amazing knack for just knowing how to strengthen any piece of writing, whether it’s a simple blog post (not this one) or a 200-page manuscript.
An editor like this is worth whatever they charge, because an editor like this will help your books sell. (You do not want a bunch of Amazon reviews saying, “so many issues/gaps/holes in the plot, I couldn’t finish it.”)
If you’ve written a book and don’t know what to do next, send Christine an email, because your first step should be a structural edit of your manuscript. That’s where the fun begins!
It makes me sad to think of how many great works of literature never made it anywhere because the author did not have his or her work reviewed by a professional editor.
Even if you think your own work is perfect? I hate to break it to you, but it’s probably not. And even if it is near perfect, it could be that much better with a bit of finessing.
You might think that the editing will all take place if a publisher picks up your title. Note: Said publisher may not bother reading the book at all if it has not been edited. They can tell.
Now, with all of that being said, in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I’ve written a poem for my beloved Manley editor, and for all the other cherished editors out there. Ahem:
You read all of my writing,
And catch every mistake.
How often you must shake your head,
At the language rules I break.
I keep trying to get better,
With each em-dash, space, and letter.
You’re the semi to my colon,
The Oxford to my comma,
Thanks for all you do,
My patient grammar mama.
Next time you read a great book, look for the editor’s name in among that copyright page information and give that person a little bit of praise. Even if it’s just in your head, I know that he or she would appreciate the acknowledgement. 🙂
(Also, I fully expect to see a thorough edit of this poem by Christine, in the comments here later on.)