Monday, April 28, 2014

5 Reasons Why It's Important to Take an Editor's Advice

by Alycia Morales

One of the most frustrating things for an editor is when they advise a client on any particular issue, and the client fights tooth and nail against that advice. It’s like a Christian asking their pastor for counsel and then ignoring every instruction he gave, thinking they knew better.

Remember Naaman? The leper? He desired healing, yet when Elisha told him to take a dip in the Jordan River seven times, he balked. “Why the filthy Jordan? Why not the rivers of Damascus?” Naaman expected something grand, but God simply wanted him to wash and be clean. In the Jordan. Naaman became enraged and stormed off, refusing to do what God’s prophet told him. Until his servant came and persuaded him to do as he was told and receive his healing. Obedience is always better than sacrifice.

Here are 5 reasons why it’s important to take an editor’s advice:

1. Editors are professionals in the writing business. We understand what publishing houses and agents are looking for. If they’re like Andrea and me, they may edit for a publishing house and know a few people who have the power to accept or reject your manuscript. It’s a good idea to heed our advice.

2. Editors are trained in the art of writing. We know the elements that make a good story. We understand grammar and craft and more. When you submit a manuscript for editing, don’t be a rebellious student. Learn from your editor.

3. Editors can pull your story out of you. There have been more times than I can count when I’ve had an appointment with a writer or worked on a writer’s manuscript and have taken an idea or a half-baked plot and helped the writer discover their story. Allow your editor to help you brainstorm until your manuscript goes from not-so-good to great.

4. Editors know the amount of work it takes to create a story no one will be able to put down. If we tell you that your novel needs more work, it needs more work. If we tell you it isn’t ready to be presented to a pub house editor or agent, it’s not. Don’t try to shortcut the process. That will only leave you clinging to your manuscript, wishing you’d listened the first time. Put in the effort. Do the work. You’ll have a much better chance of publication if you do.

Photo Courtesy of Mary Denman Photography
5. Editors want to see you succeed. We are not out to slay your baby with red ink. What we want to do is make your story come to its fullest life and catch the attention of those who can publish it. We understand your desire to see your name in print. Most of us are hoping for the same in our own careers. Realize that your editor wants the best for you.

Wouldn’t you rather have a clean manuscript that will catch a gatekeeper’s attention than have one that will sit in the slush pile until the publishing house editor or agent has the time to send you a rejection letter? 

 

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What other reasons can you give as to why it would be important to take an editor’s advice?

7 comments:

  1. Thank you Andrea and Alycia for sharing your practical knowledge and your wisdom with your fellow writers and editors. Your blog is not only informative, but an encouragement as well. You will make a difference in the quality of a writer's work. Blessings to you both.

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    1. Thank you so much, Carol! Your words of encouragement are equally important to us as well. We appreciate you hanging out with us here. Blessings to you too.

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  2. I'm so glad and thankful I found your blog. I feel like my editor is a comrade in arms, someone to help me battle my way through this complicated and intimidating industry. I appreciate all that y'all do. Blessings on this new work.

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  3. Thanks, Carol and Nan, for stopping by. We love what we do, and we hope this new blog will be a blessing and encouragement to writers. We plan to offer all sorts of writing and editing tips, as well as guest blog posts from other editing professionals. Watch for words of wisdom from Ann Tatlock on May 12th.

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  5. Andrea,
    As a magazine editor, I find that if a writer is willing to take suggestions, I'm more than happy to spend time with them making their piece print-worthy. If a writer fights me, that's usually the last time they write for me. When Red Pen Discouragement threatens, it helps to remember that an editor's job is to make her writers look good. Congrats on the blog, and keep up the good work!

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    1. You're right, Lori . . . our job as editors is to help our authors/clients produce the best work possible. Thanks for stopping by and for your encouraging words.

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