Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Editors and self-editing

I've been fortunate to have great editors in my writing career. They have the ability to give me an overview of how my story comes across and what I need to keep and what might be able to leave and best of all, give guidance about how to do that. Ultimately, it's my task to perform but a good editor makes all the difference. They ask the right questions: "I wonder what would happen if you had that character do this or that?" or "I didn't feel finished with that issues and maybe you could..."
I live too far out to really be part of a critique group even though one meets in Moro every week. I once signed up for an online group but realized I couldn't make the commitment to write a chapter or a piece a week for comment and also comment on all the others who were making submissions. If I sent in what I was working on for a publisher, I could see myself getting fifteen points of view and getting really lost in them. But I do think there are great ways to find a way to look objectively at our woek even if we aren't part of a group or don't have the gift of an editor awaiting the manuscript.
One of those ways is by reading books about writing and revising. Two that I'd recommend are Elizabeth Lyon's A Writer's Guide to Fiction (she also has a guide to non-fiction) and Renni and King's Self-editing for Fiction Writers. I haven't read James Scott Bell's book on writing but those I know who have also rave about it. He writes for Writer's Digest as does Elizabeth Lyon. Each offers practical ways to look at what you've written with a new eye.
That's what I'm off doing today: looking at my WIP with a new eye that this time includes my editor's eyes as well since we talked at length yesterday.
Stay posted, too, as I just completed an interview with that will be posted sometime next week. Great questions I thought; I hope I did the answers did them justice. Be inventive in your writing! Jane

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