Welcome 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.