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Friday, December 28, 2007

Good Editing Matters

My editor mentioned to me that she was very picky. I laughed out loud!

On many of the writing boards that I belong to there is always someone who will pipe up and announce that polishing his/her novel sucks all the passion out of the story. Their battle plan (spoken and/or implied) is to leave the picky stuff to their "future" editor.

I never comment on those posts because that kind of sideways planning signifies that the person isn't ready for publication. You have to get the mechanics perfect--or as perfect as you can get them, or it will never see an editor.

Oh I know what these people are thinking. "My story is so original, riveting, brilliant, yadda yadda, that the editor will want it and fix my bo-bos. Puleeeeeeeese! It doesn't work that way.

You want to get published? Here are the steps.

1. Write a great story.
2. Edit that story until it stops yanking readers out of the story.

I know excellent writers who are still not published. They do everything right, but for some reason they haven't gotten the call yet. What chance do you think a sloppy writer has?

Do the work. If your grammar sucks, take a class. If your story meanders, find some brutal crit partners and leave the cheerleaders at home.

TOUCH OF FIRE never lost its appeal to me, even when I slaved over the details at a sentence by sentence level. It's a great story and I think my love for it showed all the way through.

Grunt work matters.


Anonymous said...

You know I'm going to agree with you on this one. I can't imagine letting the little stuff slide. Have some pride!

Maria Zannini said...

I don't blame anyone for making a mistake. (I make plenty.) But if I make the same mistake over and over again after you or another CP calls me on it, then I deserve the brickbats.

I would be ashamed to turn in something to you guys that isn't polished. I don't expect you to clean up my messes. That's just unfair and inconsiderate of your time.

Diane Craver said...

Great post but the reason I'm here is because I just read your story about your first Christmas with your husband - I got tears in my eyes. Thanks for posting it on the Samhain blog!

Happy New Year to you!


Maria Zannini said...

Thanks, Diane, and welcome. I'm so glad you stopped by. :o)