Author Topic: Is editing really helping your book?  (Read 1111 times)

Jake

Re: Is editing really helping your book?
« Reply #50 on: October 04, 2019, 05:01:56 AM »
In school my teachers always said your first guess is usually your best guess. I followed that advice all the way through college and for the most part it was accurate.

I remember that advice. That was mostly for filling in those bubbles in multiple choice questions.

In writing that advice is TERRIBLE. With every revision your work should get better. It allows you to enhance your prose and add more layers of depth to your story. However, if you're self-publishing and trying to release regularly on a schedule it's usually recommended to just let it go. Spending weeks, perhaps months(years for some people), making the book 10% better will probably make you less money than just releasing the book as is and starting another book.
 
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Evil Entity

Re: Is editing really helping your book?
« Reply #51 on: October 04, 2019, 05:15:12 AM »
In school my teachers always said your first guess is usually your best guess. I followed that advice all the way through college and for the most part it was accurate.

I remember that advice. That was mostly for filling in those bubbles in multiple choice questions.

In writing that advice is TERRIBLE. With every revision your work should get better.


"For sale: baby shoes, never worn."

How would you revise that to make it better?  And would a second revision make it even better?  A fifth?  A tenth?

There's a point at which revision simply becomes revision for revision's sake and ceases making anything better.
 
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PJ Post

Re: Is editing really helping your book?
« Reply #52 on: October 04, 2019, 05:57:33 AM »
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that some (by some I mean most) of our absolute best sentences are first draft ideas that we can't believe we just thought of. Reworking them is generally a really bad idea. Editing is for all of those parts in between our momentary flashes of brilliance.

 grint
 
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JRTomlin

Re: Is editing really helping your book?
« Reply #53 on: October 04, 2019, 09:22:07 AM »
Unless of course only we think it is brilliant. That happens too.

I occasionally see someone tweet a line from a novel, apparently believing it is brilliant and I go... 🙄

Telling the difference is the trick and may be where an editor can help out
 
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OfficialEthanJ

Re: Is editing really helping your book?
« Reply #54 on: October 04, 2019, 11:58:16 AM »
In school my teachers always said your first guess is usually your best guess. I followed that advice all the way through college and for the most part it was accurate.

I remember that advice. That was mostly for filling in those bubbles in multiple choice questions.

In writing that advice is TERRIBLE. With every revision your work should get better.

"For sale: baby shoes, never worn."

How would you revise that to make it better?  And would a second revision make it even better?  A fifth?  A tenth?

There's a point at which revision simply becomes revision for revision's sake and ceases making anything better.

Okay, I'll bite.

In that I'm not going to make the attempt, but rather tut-tut you for skipping past the lore of that famed sentence to play "gotcha".

Apples v. Oranges (2019), but I just watched a fine video called "How Star Wars was saved in the edit" (look it up on YouTube). It began with the opening crawl: I always thought Brian DePalma was credited with writing it outright, where he actually had a hand in trimming down the BLRPH of text George Lucas originally wrote to give us the crawl we all know and love today.

Thus, while the Hemingway anecdote is snappy and memorable, it's entirely possible it started out as, "I'm writing to inquire as to the cost of running an advertisement in your esteemed publication, with a heavy heart, for I must inform you that... (etc)."

Also: The challenge set enormous constraints (write a story in six words). Ah, but *which* six? Hemingway chose his well, and maybe there is no better answer. I don't believe the goal of revision is to have each sentence be One for the Ages™. Speaking from my own experience, however, something even as "minor" as moving one word elsewhere in a paragraph can have major impacts to the rest of the story.

/sips tea

But that's none of my business...
 
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Jake

Re: Is editing really helping your book?
« Reply #55 on: October 04, 2019, 06:00:49 PM »
"For sale: baby shoes, never worn."

How would you revise that to make it better?  And would a second revision make it even better?  A fifth?  A tenth?

There's a point at which revision simply becomes revision for revision's sake and ceases making anything better.

:icon_rolleyes:

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that some (by some I mean most) of our absolute best sentences are first draft ideas that we can't believe we just thought of. Reworking them is generally a really bad idea. Editing is for all of those parts in between our momentary flashes of brilliance.

 grint

That's very true. Reworking something that you already think is brilliant is a bad idea. But I doubt too many of us have written books where every single sentence is amazing.
 
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Simon Haynes

Re: Is editing really helping your book?
« Reply #56 on: October 06, 2019, 02:49:12 PM »
I'm reading book four in a series at the moment. The major character has just been introduced to a VIP, and we're getting her initial reactions to this other person. The internal monologue goes on about how she's always wondered what the person was like, and how she'd never met her or even seen her before.

Problem is, she already met that person in book one, where there was a pivotal scene where she read the VIP's thoughts and then fainted.

(I wasn't 100% sure I was at fault so I went back to check. Definitely the same characters.)


The author thanks his editor at the end of every book, but it goes to show something will always slip through even if you hire a pro.
 

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SalesScanner, free KDP/Google Play/Kobo/Smashwords report analyser & aggregator.
 
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elleoco

Re: Is editing really helping your book?
« Reply #57 on: October 06, 2019, 03:25:03 PM »
I'm reading book four in a series at the moment. The major character has just been introduced to a VIP, and we're getting her initial reactions to this other person. The internal monologue goes on about how she's always wondered what the person was like, and how she'd never met her or even seen her before.

IMO this kind of thing is the author's responsibility, not any editor's. Even if the same editor worked on all 4 books, it's not reasonable to expect her to remember what went on in Book 1 when there have been many other books to edit in between. The creator, however, ought to know his own stories, skim back over them, review outlines of prior books in a series, whatever it takes to get back in the groove of that series when adding to it.

I see a lot of these kind of errors, probably because I binge read everything in a series if I find one I like, and it's never occurred to me to think oh, look what some editor missed, but it always makes me think oh, there's an author who needed to review his prior books and didn't bother.

Simon Haynes

Re: Is editing really helping your book?
« Reply #58 on: October 06, 2019, 03:41:23 PM »
Yeah, I agree it's down to the author.  My point was that (in my own experience too) having an editor waiting in the wings can perhaps make the author a bit more lazy. 'We'll fix it in post' in other words.

Or, as a friend of mine says when we're renovating ... 'grout will fix it'
 

Also yWriter, free novel-writing software for Windows PCs. (Mac version in progress).
SalesScanner, free KDP/Google Play/Kobo/Smashwords report analyser & aggregator.
 
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dgcasey

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Re: Is editing really helping your book?
« Reply #59 on: October 06, 2019, 05:54:02 PM »
Problem is, she already met that person in book one, where there was a pivotal scene where she read the VIP's thoughts and then fainted.

I hope you're not talking about one of my books, where Lissette meets one of the apprentice wizards, cries out and falls into a coma. Oh wait, I haven't even written book three yet.   grint
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Simon Haynes

Re: Is editing really helping your book?
« Reply #60 on: October 06, 2019, 08:27:33 PM »
You have to admit, it's hard enough keeping facts straight across one book, never mind 5, 8, 10 or more.

That's one reason I introduce all new characters for every novel in my longest series.  Other than the 3 protagonists and one or two faves that is.
 

Also yWriter, free novel-writing software for Windows PCs. (Mac version in progress).
SalesScanner, free KDP/Google Play/Kobo/Smashwords report analyser & aggregator.
 
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Dormouse

Re: Is editing really helping your book?
« Reply #61 on: October 07, 2019, 01:04:21 AM »
This is an excerpt from a review I just read. Not one of mine.
Quote
More importantly wrong grammar in the mouth of a news editor, "Marriage wasn't what her and Randal wanted it to be." And, "I had barely lived there a year," seeming to mean she hovered between life and death? No, an editor would have made that silly sentence read, "I had lived there barely a year."
FWIW

Yeah.
Some writers will always need editors. Or to aim at readers who have poor grammar themselves.
As a group they have done well from self publishing because they would rarely have been considered by traditional publishers.

OTOH that doesn't read like a review from an average reader.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2019, 01:45:06 AM by Dormouse »
 
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Dormouse

Re: Is editing really helping your book?
« Reply #62 on: October 07, 2019, 01:44:07 AM »
I think the thread is conflating three different things.
  • Construction and review in initial writing.
  • Self-editing as a separate second or third phase.
  • Using  an external editor.

I'm always reviewing as I write. I don't try to perfect word choice, although occasionally I know what word I want and it doesn't come to mind & will then make an effort to get it. Sometimes i decide to start again from the beginning.

I do a lot of self-editing in separate phases. The aims vary. Sometimes it is simply to deal with dialogue. Sometimes it is tightening word choice or the story. Sometimes it is perfecting the sequence of different threads. Etc. I always correct and tidy when i see a problem. I find it much easier to have a single target for each phase.

I don't really need an external editor, but I find it helpful to have other people read as a final stage and I prefer to have that done by readers who are also editors and writers. I don't like to work with people I haven't met fact to face, and I know I'm lucky in being able to do that. The advantages are knowing that they will say what I don't want to hear and that I have a context for their perspective.

My feeling about first thoughts is that they're rarely best when it comes to structure but can often be for wording, especially in language led projects.

 
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