Hello my Freaky Darlings,
EJ Knapp has just released his brilliant thriller, Stealing the Marbles, and is stopping by a variety of blogs to introduce himself and his book to the public. Today, I have the honour of having him here on my blog. So without any further ado here are EJ’s thoughts on editing!
Despite the advances in digital and Print-On-Demand technology, I knew from the start that I wouldn’t go the self-publish route. Two reasons, really, one major, one minor. The minor one, and by no means is this meant to be derogatory to anyone who does self- publish, but I feel being published by a publisher, big or small, adds a level of legitimacy to an author’s work.
The major reason, though, without a doubt, was editing.
I consider myself to be a fairly decent writer and feel strongly that writing should always be an evolution, a honing of the craft. I’m better today than I was last year; next year I’ll be better than I am today. However, writers tend to work in solitude, oft times working and reworking whole sections of their manuscripts, perhaps rereading a single scene a hundred times or more. This can impart a set of blinders on the writer to the point where they no longer see the flaws no matter how skilled they may be.
Skill is another factor. Some authors might be great at character development but falter when it comes to dialog or plot development. A good writer will muddle through, do the very best they can but muddle ain’t gonna get it in publication.
This is where the Editor comes in.
When I submitted Stealing The Marbles to Rebel e Publishers, I felt it was the very best I could do at the time. They must have thought so as well as they accepted it and assigned me an Editor. I spent the next several months being raked over the adverbial coals (I had somehow developed a bad case of adverbitis) by Jayne Southern and I have to say it was one of greatest experiences of my life. I learned more in those several months than I had in several years of writing.
A good Editor will home in on your weaknesses, your flaws, like a SAM missile on the heat signature of a jet fighter. They will not rewrite your manuscript, that’s your job, but they will point out the problems and may even make suggestions for improvement. This can be very disconcerting and frustrating. Many is the time I paced madly about, pulling at my hair, scattering dogs and cats in my wake, saying ‘I can’t do this, I simply can’t. What the hell does she want from me?’, only to step back, take a deep breath and reach into places I didn’t know I had, to find what was needed to fix the problem. And in that process, I learned, I honed my craft just a little bit more, I became a better writer.
The editing process can seem like an adversarial one, especially if you are heavily ego-invested in your work. My advice: let the ego go. You don’t, and shouldn’t, make every suggested change. Sometimes you’ve just got to go with your gut. But you do need to look at each and every suggestion and think it through. Your Editor is your friend, your temporary mentor and their job is to make your work shine and thereby make you shine.
What are your thoughts on the editing process?