#SpankA2Z: E is for #EDITING…

A2Z-logo2015Welcome to day 5 of the 2nd Annual Spanking A to Z blog challenge. Throughout June, spanking fiction authors will post a blog corresponding to a different letter of the alphabet, beginning with A and ending with Z. Many of the blogs, including mine, will focus on some aspect of spanking and/or the authors’ books, but you’ll also run across many random, but fun topics.

E is for Editing

I originally had another post scheduled for E, but then I ran across readership survey posted on Facebook. One of the questions asked about “editing” and how much “typos” bothered you as a reader.

Editing is more than catching typos!

I want to rant talk about editing in general, in spanking romance novels, and self-editing.

Some nonwriters equate writing with being able to construct a proper sentence. They think because they can spell, they could write a book (“Oh, you wrote a book? I’d like to do that!”). Writing is not the ability to form a sentence. Writing conveys information (nonfiction) or tells a story (fiction).  Writing fiction entails plotting, character development, pacing, tension, etc. You can be a terrible speller but a wonderful writer.

Some authors think because they can write a story, they can edit. Or that self-editing is enough. Or that editing involves correcting typos.

An author should edit his or her work to the best of his or her ability. (Don’t assume your editor will catch your mistakes. If you suspect it’s wrong, fix it). However, an author should not be the final editor of one’s work. Why? Because editing is a completely different skill set from writing. I suspect writing and editing use different hemispheres of the brain. Writing is creative; editing is detailed and nit-picky. You have to know the rules, the ins and outs of the Chicago Manual of Style, the publishing industry standard.

(I should point out that content editing is separate from copy editing. A content editor helps you form your story; a copy editor deals with grammar, spelling, etc.)

A knowledgeable copy editor will not only find punctuation and spelling errors, but he/she will correct improper word usages, awkward sentences, repetitive sentence structures, confusing meanings, and inconsistencies.

Little or poor editing shackles a story. Good editing frees it.

I recently wrote a short little romance, which I sent to three beta readers, three author friends who are good writers and pretty good editors. They caught mistakes I hadn’t. I caught mistakes they hadn’t. I thought I had a really clean copy. I sent the draft to my copy editor thinking he wouldn’t find much wrong with it.

Yikes! I was amazed at what he’d caught. I saved his draft just in I case I ever in a moment of insanity contemplate publishing a manuscript without having it professionally edited. Don’t get me wrong. It was a GOOD piece of writing. He liked my work (His comment: “It’s always a pleasure to edit works as well written as yours; your sentences have a  nice rhythm to them that makes the story easy to read.”)

I consider myself to be a damn good writer; I know I’m not the best editor. I don’t have the “eye” for it, nor the detailed knowledge that it requires. But I cringe at the mistakes I catch in spanking romances—and I’m not referring to the Indie ones.

On the other hand, some poorly edited books are selling like hotcakes, so maybe some people would argue that editing doesn’t matter.

But it does to me.

Please visit the other SpankA2Z blog posts

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10 Responses to #SpankA2Z: E is for #EDITING…

  1. Lillyanna says:

    Hi Cara.

    The fear of not being an English major and having the ability to write the best grammatically correct books, held me back from publishing my first book for a long time.

    I still worry that one day I will get that 1 star review that says poorly written! I’m sure all new authors do.

    Once I started blogging I discovered a friendly group of authors who were really down to earth and encouraged me to share the story I had to tell.

    The first person I worked with tore the one single paragraph they looked at to shreds.

    In the end it looked nothing like the one I started with. That was discouraging and I held onto my story for a bit longer after that.

    Once I decided to take the leap and publish I found an editor who made suggestions and fixed things but my story was still my own when I got it back and that was important to me.

    When I read stories I often find mistakes myself but that doesn’t bother me as much as when the story doesn’t flow well.

    I have to agree with your editor, your stories flow beautifully and your detail creates scenes that you can picture vividly in your mind.

    Great Post!

    • Cara Bristol says:

      Thank, Lillyana.

      Thank you Lillyana, for your compliment and your comment!

      It’s far better to catch an error in editing, than have a reviewer catch it. Harsh criticism early on can undermine new author’ confidence, and that’s unfortunate. Over time, one does develop thicker skin, but every now and then, a barb will pierce one’s armor.

      I am forgiving of a few typos and small errors in books I read, because I know how easily they can be overlooked despite the best efforts. I’m not so forgiving when books are clearly unedited or poorly edited from the start.

  2. Laurel Lasky says:

    Good post. My first and only one so far was written with my coauthor, Maggie Ryan. We both edited it and then we submitted it. We used base camp for editing and we did an online edit with our team. This worked out great as we were able to make instant corrections.

    • Cara Bristol says:

      What is base camp? That’s new to me.

      • Laurel Lasky says:

        Basecamp is an editing program. The following is about
        Understanding and Using Basecamp
        Chaos, OrganizedBasecamp helps you wrangle people with different roles, responsibilities, and objectives toward a common goal: Finishing a project together.I need to pull the right people together, divvy up the work to be done, and show we’re making progress. Email isn’t working… I tried other apps too, but can’t get anyone to use them with me.You’re not alone! Lots of people come to us with those same problems. Now they’re using Basecamp to keep all their project communication in one…
        See More

        • Laurel Lasky says:

          We had a discussion about using basecamp in my writing group. Blushingbooks is using it so we can get together on line. It’s easy to use and you stay connected with your teammates.

  3. Kelly Dawson says:

    Editing matters to me too! I’m not an editor, I don’t know all the punctuation rules. But when I’m reading a book with poor grammar and bad spelling I don’t continue reading it. I’m so glad I’m not alone in that!

  4. Thanks Cara. I know I don’t have the ‘eye’ for editing either. My biggest problem in doing my own edits is I’ve seen the material so much already, it’s hard to pick out errors. When I’m trying to help someone else, I find if the book is good I get reading along, enjoying the story and then I remember I’m supposed to be editing instead! Thank God there are wonderful copy editors who are so great at what they do.

    • Cara Bristol says:

      That how it is for me. My own personal typo is leaving out words. By the time I get to the editing stage, I’ve probably read it a dozen times. I see words that aren’t there! I know what it’s supposed to say, and my brain reads it like it’s there.

      And when I get really involved in someone else’s story, I tend to not notice the errors. The better written a book is, the better the story, the less I notice the small glitches. In a book I’m not that into, they leap out at me.

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