Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I Heart Editors

by Stephanie Black

I got the edits back on my upcoming suspense novel, Fool Me Twice, and I’m having a lot of fun working through revisions. I’m a reviser at heart—I like revising much more than drafting. I love taking an already-written manuscript and making it better. I’m always nervous when I receive evaluations or edits, but once I get rolling on revisions, I get excited. I love seeing the book improve and knowing the story will be stronger and richer for the revisions. I’m grateful for eagle-eyed editors and evaluators who point out weaknesses so I can fix them. I’d much rather have an editor point out that a plot point is too pat or a character too flat than have a reviewer make the same point after it’s too late for me to change anything.

One thing I’ve learned is that no matter how many times I revise a manuscript on my own, it’s not going to be the best it can be until it passes through the hands of professional editors. A good editor is worth his or her weight in platinum. Unclear, awkward, or repetitive phrasings—murky meanings—wordiness or poor word choices—ah yes, there are a multitude of little issues now marked in red on a manuscript that seemed so clean to me when I sent it in.

For instance, the editor pointed out that an outfit I’d described sounded too 1980s. This would never have occurred to me, and I'm grateful to her for noticing it. When I mentioned the outfit in question to my teenage daughter and her friend, they were appalled at my abject nerdiness. “WHITE jeans? NO ONE wears white jeans.” Okay, I'm kind of a fashion dunce.

Then there was the comment that that gave me a good giggle—a tactful note that one of my descriptions sounded a bit . . . shall we say . . . obscene. No, I wasn’t describing a person; I won’t tell you what I was describing, but suffice it to say that the editor was right and may blessings be heaped upon her head for catching it.

So in this season of Thanksgiving, I'd like to say I am grateful for my editors. And now I’ve got to get to work on those edits. Got a consistency problem to work out.


10 Comments:

At 11/14/2007 5:34 PM, Blogger Heather B. Moore said...

I agree, Stephanie. I'd rather have an editor catch a blunder than a reviewer!

 
At 11/14/2007 5:53 PM, Anonymous Jennie Hansen said...

Heather, I'd rather have an editor catch a blunder than a reviewer too. By the way, what would an editor do to a reviewer if he/she caught one?

 
At 11/14/2007 7:04 PM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

:)LOL

 
At 11/14/2007 8:51 PM, Blogger Jon said...

Awww, I want to hear the description! Did it involve "heaving beasts"?

 
At 11/14/2007 9:03 PM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

No. Nice try.

 
At 11/14/2007 9:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know we'll all be reading through your book now wondering "Was it this description?"
But then maybe you're just trying to cookst sales....

 
At 11/14/2007 9:22 PM, Blogger Annette Lyon said...

I had a line that my critique group caught that was along those lines--yowza, I'm glad they spotted it.

A good editor is truly one of the greatest blessings on the planet.

And I too like revising, for all the reasons you said. That is I like it right up until I hit about the 97th revision, at which point I'm ready to torch the thing!

 
At 11/14/2007 9:46 PM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

You caught me, Anon. I should do a contest--find the spot where I changed the scandalous line and win a free copy of For the Strength of Youth!

 
At 11/15/2007 10:51 AM, Blogger Kerry Blair said...

I heart editors 2!

One of my former editors (I hope I'm not the reason they keep leaving!) kept a file of some of her favorite meant-this-wrote-thats. Despite the fact that fully a quarter of the "oops" on the list were mine, it made me fall out of my chair laughing the Christmas she shared it with us all.

Maybe I can find the printout and share the G-rated ones...

 
At 11/16/2007 7:40 PM, Blogger Cheri J. Crane said...

Stephanie, I'm relieved to hear that I'm not the only one who tends to "blunder" on occasion. I agree with you, thank heavens for editors. ;)

I won't even tell you about the t-shirt I once nearly bought several years ago. My little sister had to pull me aside and explain the double meaning. She still laughs about that.

 

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