I’ve never used an editor before, but a growing certainty is that an editor is necessary. Even for the greatest wordsmiths. You only get one chance with a point of publication, be it a magazine, publishing house or were ever. With the certainty that I’m not perfect and I still don’t know all the ropes, I decided I better find an editor to help me as a guide.
There have been plenty of knock backs, on my journey as a writer. Each knock back, whilst generally giving good advice or feedback, takes away a point of submission for a manuscript. So I thought, why not maximise my chances. Besides, if I ever, ever were to E-Publish, I would want the story I release, to be of the quality that is coming out of any publishing house. The kind, that is run meticulously under an eagle eyed, editor’s microscope.
What kind of editing would I look at? Well there is a couple I’ve been advised on. Since I am using my sci fi short story, ‘The Observer’ for this editing adventure, I decided to keep it simple. Go with a structural edit and a copy edit, it’s only a nine thousand, something word short story.
Structural Edit: This focuses on matters such, as plot/sub plots, characters, dialogue, narrative voice and overall structure.
I am starting here, as I think it is probably best to get all the ideas and the narrative hammered down perfectly. No point in jumping into the a copy edit and the nuts and bolts of punctuation and grammar, if I only come back and rewrite things again.
Copy Edit: Getting down to the physical nuts and bolts. Punctuation, grammar, expression and sentence structure. Tackling consistency of style.
This kind of edit is a necessity, once everything is in place. I can’t imagine even the greatest of writers, not making a few typos sometimes. The other day, I found a few little things had slipped an author and editor’s gaze, funnily enough. It was a discrepancy, that was in the E-Book version, of a physical book I owned. When I checked the physical copy, it wasn’t there. This was very reassuring, for a writer starting out. Even the greats, sometimes have typos.
In honesty, if I had to say there was a weakness in my writing. I’d say it would be here on the copy edit. Sometimes I can’t see the trees from the woods, so I put a manuscript aside for a while. I come back and see the mistakes and I wonder, how the hell did that get written like that? I think the only way to improve here, is by writing. Writing and to revise and refresh, punctuation and grammar from time to time. There is nothing wrong with covering old ground. So much happens in our lives, we are bound to overlook and forget things from time to time.
There is probably the proof edit needed eventually, but from what I can tell that isn’t needed until after a submission has been accepted. It deals more with typesetting and page matters for print.
Overall that is the plan. Go through the stages of a structural edit and a copy edit and see if we can make my short story, ‘The Observer’ shine. Polish and polish some more. It is, if nothing else, an interesting experiment and I will know, what I am in for when my novel is finished.
I’ll have to tell you guys how it all goes. In theory it should all be done by the end of March.