even especially this kind of editing…
BLOOD TOY will be in copy editing April 27, and I am so stinkin’ excited about it! I know a lot of authors hate editing. They guard their words behind the sacrosanct label of ‘art’, reluctant to kill even one of their darlings. Not me. This may be my favorite part of writing. The way I look at it is this: when my novel makes it to the hands of an editor, it is the best I can possibly make it. Thankfully I learned early on it will be infinitely better with knowledgable critique.
As I detailed in my Letter From The Author, my first editor did not read past page four of my novel until I had revised it completely three times. When I got back the first complete edit, there was a thick, red line through one chapter, punctuated at the end with this explanation: Well, Bippity Boppity Boo!
The point was spot on. My heroine got out of an impossible situation with little more than luck and snarky one-liners. He further critiqued: This entire chapter is repetitive and, quite frankly, boring. Again, spot on. I had written virtually the same character interaction in a different setting in the previous chapter. Neither story or character arc was improved in any way by the rehashing of it.
I read a old blog this morning from Mike Wells about developing a thick skin. http://mikewellsblog.blogspot.com/2011/07/developing-thick-skin.html. While this quality is essential in a writer, it doesn’t mean what we usually think it means. Have a thick skin means being able to see past emotional attachment and pride to gauge every criticism for its potential merit.
Maybe someone just doesn’t like the story. Tough. It’s my story. They should probably find another one to read. But maybe my story (my writing!) suffers from slow spots, rough dialogue, repetition, or cliche phrases. Maybe my story could be better! If that’s the case, you damn well better believe I will listen to anybody who has genuine advice for making it so.
PS. Mike’s got a lot more to say on this subject. You should definitely check it out!
Image credit: By Phoebe (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons