day fourteen: falling in love with editing

It was the phone call that changed everything. 

"This book is amazing," she said. "And I want to help you with it." 

I breathed in quick. 

"You do? Ohmigosh...thank you!" 

There was a brief pause. 

"It's an amazing book, Elora — but it can be better." 

"Oh."

And then we brainstormed. 

I told her how dissonant I felt about the ending and that I wanted there to be a second book. 

She explained what felt off to her as a reader and how I could make the story feel more true.

We came up with a plan: I would rewrite. Re-title. Recover. Be true to my characters and their arcs — and then we would push this book out into the world together.

I left that phone call awake and inspired.

It was the beginning of my secret love affair with editing.

Do you remember my first editor? That wasn't editing. Part of my dissonance was the awareness of just how many typos made it into the final — paperback version — of my book. Granted, typos are everywhere. I get that. But all of the run-throughs we did? All of the eyes that were on those pages? 

A good editor pushes you to great writing.

Editing is what I experienced when K.P. called me and in her gentle words nudged me toward the story I knew I was meant to tell. 

Editing is getting the notes from my friend Hännah where she challenged me to avoid stereotypes, cliches, vague references and shoddy dialogue. 

Notes from my first editor: sweeping and over-generalized. 

Notes from my first editor: sweeping and over-generalized. 

Notes from Hännah: honest and challenging.

Notes from Hännah: honest and challenging.

As a writer, you cannot reach your best work without someone there to help you. Find someone who knows your writing and capability. I can't tell you how many times Hännah dared me to rewrite an entire scene because she felt it too juvenile. I deleted chapters because of Hännah. I added scenes between Kevin and Stephanie because of Hännah. 

My friend Lisa will look at me and ask, "do you really say this?" Outside of catching my comma splices, ahe's also saved me from more than one moronic plot-hole.

Lindsay Tweedle, my editor for SOMEWHERE BETWEEN WATER & SKY, caught mistakes that revealed my writing sprints and late night marathons. She always tells me, "good editing doesn't show itself in a manuscript. It's invisible. Poor editing — or no editing at all — is obvious." 

Find an editor you trust. Someone you know will take care with your words. Listen to them. Learn from them. And watch the story you were meant to tell unfold from your eyes.


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Posted on October 14, 2014 and filed under indie publishing, writing.