…but first, a shout-out for another good cause. Twitter friend and talented artist and graphic designer Angie Shawcroft is helping to organise a Spooktacular Sponsored Stroll at Chatsworth House, Derbyshire on Sunday 28th October to raise money for Cancer Research UK. Follow the link for more info or click on the image to register.
And now down to the serious business of this post.
Before I went on my September blogging break, I read this blog post, which left me, well… mystified. One paragraph in particular stood out: I am really sick of reading about how writers can’t possibly string
together so much as a tweet, let alone an entire novel without someone
else hanging over their shoulder steering the course. That’s what
editors do, after all. Were you fully aware of that? Editors take other
people’s material and structure it to suit either their own preconceived
notions or the fiscal necessity of the platform they’re editing for.
I am a debut author who is going through the later stages of having her first novel prepared for publication next year. So far, ACID has been worked on by 3 different editors and has gone through 2 major rounds of revisions and a round of copyedits. The whole experience – though it has been a lot of work – has brought me to one conclusion:
Writers need editors.
Perhaps it's because I love revising anyway (much more so than writing first drafts!), but I've found the whole editing process – once the initial post-first edit letter OMG-why-didn't-I-see-all-the-things-that-are-wrong-with-this-book-it-needs-so-much-work-I'm-the-worst-writer-ever shock wore off – both exciting and thoroughly rewarding. The insight the team at RHCP have had into my book is incredible, strengthening it in ways I'd never have thought possible. If the version of ACID that's hitting the shelves next year was the version that originally sold, I'd be cringing at the thought of people reading it (not least because I have a mathematical blind spot, and always get mixed up with my chapter numbers and dates!).
At no point has my original vision for the book been lost. At no point has anyone tried to change the book just to fit in with a preconceived notion or platform. It's my book, made better with the advice and guidance of skilled (and lovely) people who are true experts. Made better in ways that, because as an author I am often too close to my own work to see its flaws, I could never have managed by myself.
No, I don't need an editor hanging over my shoulder steering the course as I write my novels. But I do need editors to help those novels realise their full potential once the first draft is written (and also my beta-reader, and my agent, and… you get the idea). I truly believe that whether you're starting out or an old hand, traditionally- or self-published, the input of others is what helps you shape your work and get better at what you do.
Editors, I salute you.