“Always use an editor. You are blind to your own mistakes.”
Seasoned editor’s comment
Truer words were never spoken! Over and over again, I’ve learned how easy it is to let errors, typos, plot and character inconsistencies, cliches, and repetitive constructions creep into my YA story, no matter how vigilant I am about catching them. That’s why I was glad to get some valuable advice from my friend and fellow author Carl Selinger and seasoned journalist Eveline Speedie in an editing seminar presented by the Write Group, a great local support resource for scribes in my hometown of Montclair. Here are some practical tips I gleaned:
Write through a whole draft without putting on your editing hat, then let it sit for a while. When you come back to it, take detailed notes on what you need to fix.
Before you contact an editor, do your job as a writer. Revise, revise, revise! Polish your draft on your own until you’ve pushed it as far as you can. Get feedback from readers you trust and use what works for you to make your draft even stronger.
Choose a professional editor with care: you want a good match and it’s likely that you’ll be paying hundreds, even thousands of dollars for a specific service or detailed critique by a seasoned pro. Before you commit, find out what services are offered, what kinds of books an editor has worked on, what genres he/she specializes in, and in what form
you’ll receive editorial comments. Know what you’re getting before you commit.
Here’s a standard formula about editing advice: 1/3 of what you receive will be useful and right; 1/3 will be right but not useful; and 1/3 will be wrong. Now that’s something to ponder! Write on.