By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin
It may surprise you to hear this
statement: No writer creates a perfect first draft. Each of us have to get the
stories and information out of our head and on to paper (or computer). Some of
my writer friends will talk their writing into the computer then edit from that
draft. They use a program like Naturally Speaking. Even when you use such a tool, your first
draft will need additional work.
While I've been writing for
publication for decades, I still need an editor. In the writing process, I try
and write enough ahead that I can let it cool for a few hours (or days) then I
read through my writing and edit it. Each of us need to self-edit. Another
process is to read your work aloud to yourself and edit it as you go through it.
The ear is less forgiving than the eye and this process will help improve your
Yet s writers we can only take
our writing to a certain level on our own. We need editors. A good editor will
ask probing questions and force you to clarify areas that don't make sense or
are incomplete. A good editor will push you to do more showing in your writing
than telling. The editor can also react to the structure of your piece and push
you to have a stronger conclusion. These various elements are just a few of the
skills an editor will bring to your writing and publishing process.
There are numerous freelance
editors who perform help many writers in this process. If you don't have such an
editor, ask other writers and get some recommendations. Then check out that
editor's references and even have them edit a portion of your book (often they
will do this process without charge) to see if their work will be a good fir for
what you need and are looking for with your work.
Another resource some writer use
for the editing process is their participation in a critique group. In the early
days of my publishing work, I was active in a critique group and it was a great
help to propel my writing. If you don't have a critique group (in person or
online), I recommend you read this detailed article that I wrote about critique
groups (follow the link).
Do you believe every writer needs
an editor? What tips do you have for finding a good one? Let me know in the
Labels: books, critique groups, editors, first draft, publishing, self-editing, Terry Whalin, The Writing Life, Writers Need Editors