“I Can’t Afford an Editor.”
I hear this claim in every class I teach or writer’s group I attend. The complaint hides two fears: bloody red ink on your manuscript and the idea that a supposed, expert stranger will tell you what to write. The cost is a factor but it is not the factor.
To allay your fears and minimize the cost know that editing is an iterative, not a one and done process. What do I mean?
- Only you can write your 1st draft. Introducing an editor at this phase is a form of creative suicide;
- Create a full draft, celebrate, and self-edit after you take the following steps:
- Celebrate your accomplishment
- Allow the text to marinate in a safe inaccessible place for 2-6 weeks
- Read the full manuscript as a reader, not a writer
- Understand that you can never be a fully objective reader
- Return to the text to read as a self-editor
- Is the point of view consistent?
- Are there adequate transitions?
- Have you used enough dialogue to move the action forward?
- Is the pace and tone in keeping with the genre?
- Did you use the five senses as tools to show not tell your story?
- Use your self-edits to write a second draft.
- Be amazed by how you have improved the text
- Do a copyedit of the second draft, use online tools to help you
- Spell & grammar checks
- Search and replace tools
- Ask other writers to act as beta readers:
- Specify what you want from readers
- Specify the desired turn around time
- Be sure the anticipated return is reasonable for the length of the manuscript
- Don’t resent a no response, timing is everything
- Be willing to reciprocate
- Read through the provided edits with care
- Consider every comment and use those that resonate to complete your third draft
Presuming that you’ve made edits to the manuscript based on reader feedback, re-read the text with the above-bulleted self-edit questions in mind, performed a second tools scan, and made all changes you can identify you will have a completed third draft and you haven’t spent a cent. Congratulations!
Time to hire an editor.
How do you find the right editor?
See you next post. Happy writing.