Sunday, April 13, 2014

Professional Edit or Not

How many times do I need to write the same book? Have you, like me, ever asked that question? I have a novel that I have went through six times and am still not willing to attempt to publish it. Why? Because it is not ready. No, not because the book sucks. I feel like it is a very good story. But it needs work. What have I learned by this process, two things?

The best edit is still with a red pen on paper. The last edit is reading the text of the work aloud. I have edited, to death, on the computer and still recommend it for the first go through. On my new work I used a red pen edit for my second edit, a red pen edit by someone else for my third edit and a read through, oral edit for my final.

No professional edit? I don’t think so, not for these works. I may seek additional input from another outside, non-professional, editor but have decided to go it on my own. I have published numerous short stories and at times, must admit, when I read the published version, I found something I wish I had edited, either more or better.

Why all this? I tried, in vain, to find a professional editor and could not. They charged too much or too little, wanted to change too much or too little. Makes me sound a bit like Goldilocks from, The Story of the Three Bears, I just couldn’t find a, just right, fit.

Will it work? Not sure. Remember in the old days when people said, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained”? Guess I will find out. I spent years doing content edits and rewrites for graduate students while teaching in Laramie, but never edited grammar or punctuation unless it was so bad even I could see it. Until a year ago I still did some editing for two print magazines.

View of my little part of the world from Roundtop Mountain, three miles from town.
There is my unedited story about editing. My conclusions, do it the best you can, or until you feel good about it, then be done with it.


Oscar Case said...

Most writers, if not all, say you should have a professional edit your work, and I hear about all the changes and remarks made, and all the time you spend re-writing, and I do my own editing. My stories are not written for the critic, but for common, ordinary western readers with plain, old common sense, and not a helluva lot of thought about the critical aspects. I know there is a big audience out there and it will take time to reach most of them.

Neil A. Waring said...

Hey Oscar, I have read two of your books and they looked good to me. I agree critics be dammed, it is the reader that is important.