By Debra Dupree Williams
The editing process is one we either love or hate. I don’t mind the edits, it’s the revisions that often stump me. Once I’ve written something, I struggle to change it. Wasn’t it perfect the first
We fall in love with our words, and it hurts to cut them or change them. But change is necessary if we want our work to sing.
As a musician, auditions are required for all manner of groups, from my high school choral groups to the most professional of church choirs. Even though I’d studied singing for years, those auditions were necessary to create the most harmonious, well-blended group possible. Some singers were cut. There were times when I was one of those.
The same holds true for our written words.
We spend years learning to string together coherent thoughts and then we sweat over each one as it appears on the blank page before us. Eventually, they form a story, or a blog post, or an article. But is every word necessary? Is each one required for a harmonious story?
The editing process is necessary to make our stories the best they can be. As a fiction writer, I found an excellent editor to help walk me through my manuscript before I submitted it to agents or publishers. She found and saw things I never would have found because my work was too familiar to me . . . too close to my heart.
My advice to any writer, but especially to
new writers … write from your heart. Then invest in good books on self-editing.
When you’ve done all you can to make your work the best it can be, hire an
editor who will make it even better.
The process my editor and I followed was simple. I submitted three chapters per week, she read over them, and sent them back to me with Track Changes within Word. At that point, we met via telephone to talk about what she changed and why. It was a learning process for me for sure. This was my first novel, after all, and I had much to learn.
The entire process took around twenty weeks, and the manuscript became a 265-page book. To me, the money spent was so worth it. Without a doubt, the finished product was so much better than it would have been without the help of a professional editor.
It can get expensive to hire an editor, but I still urge you to find the best one your budget can afford. If you can’t afford one, be sure you are in critique groups where many of the members are editors or seasoned authors with years of experience. Word Weavers and ACFW are two groups which have all manner of aids for the writer. If you’re a beginner, these are the places for you. Find your local chapter and join.
But first thing to do? Pray over the work of your hands and heart.
But then you still need to edit. Not one of us is perfect.
(Photos courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and Stuart Miles.)
Award-winning author, Debra DuPree
Williams, tells stories of faith and family set in the deep south. Debbie’s
debut novel, Grave Consequences, A Charlotte Graves Mystery, has earned
praise for its authentic voice, setting, and characters. A classically-trained
lyric coloratura soprano, Debbie’s first love is Southern Gospel. Debbie and
her husband have four sons, a beautiful daughter-of-their-hearts, and two
perfect granddaughters. When not writing or in search of an elusive ancestor,
Debbie and her husband enjoy life in the majestic mountains of western North