This post is part of the Blogging from A to Z challenge–blogging every day in the month of April (except Sundays!) with each letter of the alphabet.
No one writes a book, story, article, or even a poem perfectly the first time (or a blog post–hilariously I made a mistake in this first line when I went back over it). That is, the first draft of any piece of writing never comes out pristine. If you can do this, I don’t trust you because obviously you’re from another realm, or have magic powers, or have sold your soul. For the rest of us mere mortals, we have editing.
From self-editing and rewriting, to having a friend go over your work, to professional editors, our stories need to go through a bunch of plucking and polishing before they’re fit for public consumption. I used to hate editing, but I eventually grew to enjoy the process of rearranging and cutting, making things better and learning more about my craft at the same time. Here are some types of editing:
Self-editing: After you throw the first draft down, you have to fix it up. This is where a lot of rearranging and finagling comes in, and a lot of chopping and adding and rewriting. This is where you get to smooth things over and not worry about anyone judging you. But your eyes can get pretty blurry after reading the same lines 500 times, so it’s best you–
Have a second opinion: Let a friend look it over. A critique partner. Your writing group. A beta reader. They can catch the things you can no longer see and show you where you’re sagging, so you can prop those spots up and do yet another round of rewriting and editing.
Going pro: Once you’ve polished as much as you can, it’s time for the professionals to take over. If you’re traditionally published you’ll get one of these complimentary from your publisher, but if you’re indie you should definitely invest in one yourself. Indie or pro, there are different kinds of editors out there: lazy ones, adequate ones, and great ones. Hopefully you’ll end up with one of the great ones. Great editors will not only pick apart your words and show you the way, but teach you more about the art of writing. I’ve learned so many invaluable things from great editors over the years and I am eternally grateful.
So how do you feel about editing? Love it? Hate it? Have you ever worked with a great editor and learned something new in the process?