Today I’ve got Sue Toth, from Secret Cravings Publishing, talking about her job as an editor. I guess after reading this post they really aren’t the enemy just not so friendly friends who help us make a good book great.
You’ve worked long and hard on your novel. You’ve slaved over the plot, fallen in love with the characters, researched to make sure the setting is just right. Your masterpiece is finally complete. Now it’s time to put it in the hands of an editor.
Sometime later, you get your manuscript back from the editor and it’s filled with—what is this??–red track changes! Lots of them! How could this be? This is your blood, sweat and tears, and the editor didn’t like it? This is impossible. How could the editor not like your book?
Contrary to popular belief, most editors don’t dislike a book. Even though it may seem that way, we editor types really are just trying to help you make your book better. So what, exactly, goes into the editing process?
Well, of course we correct things like spelling, grammar and punctuation errors. We make sure that periods are inside of quotation marks, things like that. We also check for consistency. If the hero’s eyes were blue in the opening scenes and suddenly turn green halfway through the book, we’ll ask you what color you want them to be, and then make sure they stay that color throughout the book. We also check for continuity in scenes. For example, if a character is in a room, we make sure that he or she got there in a plausible way, and hasn’t just magically appeared in the scene.
One of the most important ways that editors can help, though, is to make sure your novel is as reader-friendly as possible. And that includes things like removing extraneous dialogue, shortening scenes that go on for too long, and just overall looking at your manuscript with an objective eye.
Don’t forget, editors are readers too. We just happen to be pretty good at those pesky rules of the English language. Most of all, we’re not you. We’re a fresh set of eyes, and we really are here to help, not condemn. And we’re happy to explain changes, answer questions and work with you to make your novel the best it can be.
So ask us questions, and help us help you (thank you Jerry McGuire).
A collaborative working relationship between an author and editor can only help make a novel better.