Author Topic: Is editing really helping your book?  (Read 3025 times)

dgcasey

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Re: Is editing really helping your book?
« Reply #100 on: November 22, 2019, 03:36:45 PM »
I used to use an Atari ST (1986 until '95), but fortunately I have an Atari ST emulator on my PC, and I still have a copy of all my files and programs from those days.  In fact, it's a direct copy of the hard drive so I can just run it and it's like I'm back in the early 90's.

Oooo, another Atari man. My first computer was an Atari 800. I used that for a couple of years before getting an Epson XT clone. With the Atari, I found it fun and frustrating at the same time, trying to turn a 40 column screen document into an 80 column print doc. Those were the days.

 :tup3b
I will not forget one line of this, not one day. I will always remember when the Doctor was me.
"The Tales of Garlan" title="The Tales of Garlan"
"Into The Wishing Well" title="Into The Wishing Well"
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I'm the Doctor by the way, what's your name? Rose. Nice to meet you, Rose. Run for your life!
 
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Simon Haynes

Re: Is editing really helping your book?
« Reply #101 on: November 22, 2019, 10:58:06 PM »
I had the 520 STFM and the megafile 60 hard drive (eventually) - the latter cost me $1500 for 60mb of storage.

It was a pretty decent system though. Easily as fast as the PCs I was selling for my day job. But when the first Pentium 90 came along with Windows 95, I was sold instantly.

All my life I'd bought computers that weren't as popular as the mainstream (Commodore was huge in Australia). That's why I've always stayed away from the Mac - the PC has just about everything. I do own a Mac mini, but only because it's necessary to develop IOS apps.



 
 
 

 
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Bill Hiatt

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Re: Is editing really helping your book?
« Reply #102 on: November 23, 2019, 01:17:29 AM »
I had the 520 STFM and the megafile 60 hard drive (eventually) - the latter cost me $1500 for 60mb of storage.

It was a pretty decent system though. Easily as fast as the PCs I was selling for my day job. But when the first Pentium 90 came along with Windows 95, I was sold instantly.

All my life I'd bought computers that weren't as popular as the mainstream (Commodore was huge in Australia). That's why I've always stayed away from the Mac - the PC has just about everything. I do own a Mac mini, but only because it's necessary to develop IOS apps.
As with other things, it's very much a question of what works for you. I know a lot of contented PC users and a lot of contented Mac users. Typically, people change platforms only when their existing choice isn't doing what they want it to do or in the way they want to it.

I'm a PC man, though I've worked with both. When I was teaching, I got a Mac laptop for the use of students bringing presentations from home. (PowerPoint should be cross-platform compatible, but in fact there are glitches.) That particular purchase works to my advantage now because I'm able to use it for Vellum. Everything else I do on the PC.


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Simon Haynes

Re: Is editing really helping your book?
« Reply #103 on: November 29, 2019, 09:34:11 PM »
The Destructive Pursuit of Perfection


 
 
 

 
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j tanner

Re: Is editing really helping your book?
« Reply #104 on: November 30, 2019, 03:15:06 AM »
The Destructive Pursuit of Perfection

Just the title got me predicting Kris or Dean. Sure enough...

FWIW, my personal experience working with lots of authors in critique groups is the opposite of what they say most of the time.
 
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PJ Post

Re: Is editing really helping your book?
« Reply #105 on: November 30, 2019, 05:19:58 AM »
The Destructive Pursuit of Perfection

Thanks for posting, but the title is kind of misleading, isn't it? She’s talking about editing out the soul of our books, which we’ve discussed here. The pursuit of perfection is not the same as refining the narrative, reinforcing voice or tightening the emotion. Simply understanding the story does not automatically make it entertaining.

For example, she singles out King as having a great voice, and yet he rewrites his books to death; which means she’s accepting of his process as a means to an end, even if that necessitates using editors.

At the end of the day, she’s preaching that we should be protective of our work and have the confidence to ignore banal conformist advice - not that we shouldn’t strive to publish the best books we can.
 
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JRTomlin

Re: Is editing really helping your book?
« Reply #106 on: November 30, 2019, 06:26:44 AM »
What she says is pretty close to my experience at least most of the time. There are exceptions.
 
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sandree

Re: Is editing really helping your book?
« Reply #107 on: November 30, 2019, 07:06:17 AM »
The Destructive Pursuit of Perfection



I needed to listen to this. I just had a beta read that has confused me so much that I’ve come to a screeching halt with my book. I suspect the reader (who is a romance author) is telling me to rewrite the book in her voice and now I need to sort out what part of her advice might actually be helpful and what to ignore.

I like the recommendation in this video to have only readers (rather than authors) as beta readers.
 
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dgcasey

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Re: Is editing really helping your book?
« Reply #108 on: November 30, 2019, 08:33:12 AM »
I suspect the reader (who is a romance author) is telling me to rewrite the book in her voice and now I need to sort out what part of her advice might actually be helpful and what to ignore.

Under no circumstances do you listen to anyone that would tell you to change your voice, especially if they want you to write in their voice. Your voice is what is going to make you unique in the field of literature.
I will not forget one line of this, not one day. I will always remember when the Doctor was me.
"The Tales of Garlan" title="The Tales of Garlan"
"Into The Wishing Well" title="Into The Wishing Well"
Dave's Amazon Author page | DGlennCasey.com | TheDailyPainter.com
I'm the Doctor by the way, what's your name? Rose. Nice to meet you, Rose. Run for your life!
 
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idontknowyet

Re: Is editing really helping your book?
« Reply #109 on: November 30, 2019, 10:08:46 AM »
I suspect the reader (who is a romance author) is telling me to rewrite the book in her voice and now I need to sort out what part of her advice might actually be helpful and what to ignore.

Under no circumstances do you listen to anyone that would tell you to change your voice, especially if they want you to write in their voice. Your voice is what is going to make you unique in the field of literature.
The problem is not as much for established authors as it is for newer authors I would think. We don't know what we don't know. We hire a person trusting that they are supposed to know their job. Then we take the advice we pay for.

I was in an editor group trying to pick up as much information as I can. I kid you not one editor said I should get cowriting credit and several other editors agreed with them. When an editor gets to the point they feel that way are they really editing your books.

I've seen editors posting developmental edits where they write 350 words for every 1k of manuscript. Then they give you a 3-5 page overview.  How is that an edit and not a rewrite? How is there anything left of your story?
 

Dennis Chekalov

Re: Is editing really helping your book?
« Reply #110 on: November 30, 2019, 10:19:04 AM »
I've seen editors posting developmental edits where they write 350 words for every 1k of manuscript. Then they give you a 3-5 page overview.  How is that an edit and not a rewrite? How is there anything left of your story?

Quite obviously, you are talking about me as long as I am the only one with such an offer.
What's your question exactly?
Yes, I usually write 350 words of comments (or more) per every 1k of a manuscript. These comments cover usual stuff: the plot, character development, dialogues, setting, etc. Why do you call it rewriting? What else would you expect from developmental editing if not some comments about the plot, characters, etc.?
 
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RiverRun

Re: Is editing really helping your book?
« Reply #111 on: November 30, 2019, 07:43:53 PM »
I listened to the first half of Kris's talk - I've read her blog before and was familiar with most of it - but at one point she said, 'writers just want to be told what to do' and I know for me at least that's really true. A part of me really, really wants some authority on high to either declare my work brilliant or correct all its faults. But this is such a silly thing to want. Even when I get criticism on my work, I crave the negative comments that will give me something to fix - and yet, almost everything in the story is there because I had a reason for it. I'm starting to realize that a lot of criticism has more to do with the criticizer's taste than anything else.

Not always. Some people, whether through experience or some inherent skill, can read a book and tell when something is wrong with it, and ignore what's right about it. But again, it has to be 'wrong' with the writer's taste as well as the critical reader's.

Not much of this applies to editing at the sentence level - fixing deficient sentences and so on, just the content/developmental edit stage.

'The perfect is the enemy of the good' is something I have to remind myself of a lot. I am not much of a perfectionist in other things but for some reason writing brings out the obsessive compulsive buried somewhere inside me.
 
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Dennis Chekalov

Re: Is editing really helping your book?
« Reply #112 on: November 30, 2019, 09:35:47 PM »
A part of me really, really wants some authority on high to either declare my work brilliant or correct all its faults. But this is such a silly thing to want.

I would say it's an absolutely reasonable request. Technical flaws are technical. They can be found and fixed. If there are no technical flaws, well, you have every right to do this:  :banana:

angelapepper

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Re: Is editing really helping your book?
« Reply #113 on: December 01, 2019, 01:58:23 AM »
Some people crave approval more than others.

There's this flawed thinking that if you make something good enough, people will like you. Turns out it's almost the exact opposite in practice LOL.  (At least with people who knew you *before success*. Strangers are different.)
 
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idontknowyet

Re: Is editing really helping your book?
« Reply #114 on: December 01, 2019, 02:43:14 AM »
I've seen editors posting developmental edits where they write 350 words for every 1k of manuscript. Then they give you a 3-5 page overview.  How is that an edit and not a rewrite? How is there anything left of your story?

Quite obviously, you are talking about me as long as I am the only one with such an offer.
What's your question exactly?
Yes, I usually write 350 words of comments (or more) per every 1k of a manuscript. These comments cover usual stuff: the plot, character development, dialogues, setting, etc. Why do you call it rewriting? What else would you expect from developmental editing if not some comments about the plot, characters, etc.?
Actually no i'm not. Didn't remember reading yours (but I probably have since I read all the editors that post here) I have seen quite a few editors that post the same on facebook. But I wouldn't mind your insight.

I have seen people post in critique groups a 1-2k passage from their book and an editor post the same or more in a response. Which just boggles my mind. I get that a developmental editor needs to speak to all of those things but my assumption would be only if it needs fixing. Why are you commenting on stuff that doesn't need to be fixed? Other than adding a few comments to uplift the writers spirits as you point out the holes in the story.  Now if there was a massive hole in the story it would seem more helpful to make a note of where and a few places that lead to the hole and have a discussion with the author. But commenting on ever 1k of the story writing almost a third of it seems like you feel the need to rewrite the authors story to fit your expectations.

I love the idea that you are thorough with your developmental edits don't get me wrong. I love the idea that the editor really thinks about my book and takes the time to figure our how it can be improved. But why improve what isn't broken?
« Last Edit: December 01, 2019, 02:57:06 AM by idontknowyet »
 

Simon Haynes

Re: Is editing really helping your book?
« Reply #115 on: December 01, 2019, 03:48:47 AM »
There are many people who would welcome such a comprehensive report, especially earlier on in their careers, or maybe someone returning to writing after a long break.

But personally, if I get an email from a beta reader highlighting one single, solitary typo, I'll leave it sitting in my inbox for three or four days before I can finally drag myself to the manuscript to locate and fix the offending word. Anything more detailed than that and my eyes glaze over.

 
 
 

 
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PJ Post

Re: Is editing really helping your book?
« Reply #116 on: December 01, 2019, 06:38:28 AM »
I'm not an editor. But when I'm ranting about books and movies, it's almost never about the story itself. My issues are generally about things that can easily be fixed in the editing process: pacing, motivation, tone, characterization, tension and suspense, layers, setups and payoffs, mood, emotion and voice - all of the fiddly bits that, at the end of the day, make stuff entertaining.
 
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JRTomlin

Re: Is editing really helping your book?
« Reply #117 on: December 01, 2019, 06:42:29 AM »
I've seen editors posting developmental edits where they write 350 words for every 1k of manuscript. Then they give you a 3-5 page overview.  How is that an edit and not a rewrite? How is there anything left of your story?

Quite obviously, you are talking about me as long as I am the only one with such an offer.
What's your question exactly?
Yes, I usually write 350 words of comments (or more) per every 1k of a manuscript. These comments cover usual stuff: the plot, character development, dialogues, setting, etc. Why do you call it rewriting? What else would you expect from developmental editing if not some comments about the plot, characters, etc.?
Actually no i'm not. Didn't remember reading yours (but I probably have since I read all the editors that post here) I have seen quite a few editors that post the same on facebook. But I wouldn't mind your insight.

I have seen people post in critique groups a 1-2k passage from their book and an editor post the same or more in a response. Which just boggles my mind. I get that a developmental editor needs to speak to all of those things but my assumption would be only if it needs fixing. Why are you commenting on stuff that doesn't need to be fixed? Other than adding a few comments to uplift the writers spirits as you point out the holes in the story.  Now if there was a massive hole in the story it would seem more helpful to make a note of where and a few places that lead to the hole and have a discussion with the author. But commenting on ever 1k of the story writing almost a third of it seems like you feel the need to rewrite the authors story to fit your expectations.

I love the idea that you are thorough with your developmental edits don't get me wrong. I love the idea that the editor really thinks about my book and takes the time to figure our how it can be improved. But why improve what isn't broken?
A developmental edit does not only address plot holes. That is an entirely mistaken idea.

It is an in-depth edit of the entire manuscript, including word choice, sentence phrasing, clumsy transitions, problematic characterization, inconsistent tone, and yes, plot holes. Whether it is the character that has blue eyes in chapter five and brown in chapter ten or the character who completely without explanation changes their behaviour, or lack of transition between scenes, or 'you said that in chapter four why are you saying it again in chapter six?", these are problems that a line edit cannot and does not address. And the problems often exist and are 'broken'.

I am not sure where the idea even comes from that a developmental edit is only to find plot holes.

ETA: The comments in a developmental edit can go anywhere from 'why did the character do that?' to 'this is the 65th time you had him shrug so maybe you should try another gesture' to "that really works '. And the 'that really works' is not "uplift the spirit" but because authors sometimes don't even realise what is working and change it. It is helpful to know.

ETA: Not wanting a developmental edit is perfectly fine. Most indy authors don't have them (although I've read some that could really use one) but maybe we shouldn't attack the concept or misrepresent what one is.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2019, 08:12:39 AM by JRTomlin »
 
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Dennis Chekalov

Re: Is editing really helping your book?
« Reply #118 on: December 01, 2019, 08:09:05 AM »
I've seen editors posting developmental edits where I have seen quite a few editors that post the same on facebook.

I am not unique, then :icon_cry:

But speaking seriously, usually, there are some things which can be improved. And I always try to explain why, so it takes some time. Sometimes, I may give some suggestions, but these are just suggestions, not more.

From my perspective, the main and only goal of a developmental editor is to help you to tell your story, in your style, with your voice.

idontknowyet

Re: Is editing really helping your book?
« Reply #119 on: December 01, 2019, 10:26:47 AM »
I've seen editors posting developmental edits where they write 350 words for every 1k of manuscript. Then they give you a 3-5 page overview.  How is that an edit and not a rewrite? How is there anything left of your story?

Quite obviously, you are talking about me as long as I am the only one with such an offer.
What's your question exactly?
Yes, I usually write 350 words of comments (or more) per every 1k of a manuscript. These comments cover usual stuff: the plot, character development, dialogues, setting, etc. Why do you call it rewriting? What else would you expect from developmental editing if not some comments about the plot, characters, etc.?
Actually no i'm not. Didn't remember reading yours (but I probably have since I read all the editors that post here) I have seen quite a few editors that post the same on facebook. But I wouldn't mind your insight.

I have seen people post in critique groups a 1-2k passage from their book and an editor post the same or more in a response. Which just boggles my mind. I get that a developmental editor needs to speak to all of those things but my assumption would be only if it needs fixing. Why are you commenting on stuff that doesn't need to be fixed? Other than adding a few comments to uplift the writers spirits as you point out the holes in the story.  Now if there was a massive hole in the story it would seem more helpful to make a note of where and a few places that lead to the hole and have a discussion with the author. But commenting on ever 1k of the story writing almost a third of it seems like you feel the need to rewrite the authors story to fit your expectations.

I love the idea that you are thorough with your developmental edits don't get me wrong. I love the idea that the editor really thinks about my book and takes the time to figure our how it can be improved. But why improve what isn't broken?
A developmental edit does not only address plot holes. That is an entirely mistaken idea.

It is an in-depth edit of the entire manuscript, including word choice, sentence phrasing, clumsy transitions, problematic characterization, inconsistent tone, and yes, plot holes. Whether it is the character that has blue eyes in chapter five and brown in chapter ten or the character who completely without explanation changes their behaviour, or lack of transition between scenes, or 'you said that in chapter four why are you saying it again in chapter six?", these are problems that a line edit cannot and does not address. And the problems often exist and are 'broken'.

I am not sure where the idea even comes from that a developmental edit is only to find plot holes.

ETA: The comments in a developmental edit can go anywhere from 'why did the character do that?' to 'this is the 65th time you had him shrug so maybe you should try another gesture' to "that really works '. And the 'that really works' is not "uplift the spirit" but because authors sometimes don't even realise what is working and change it. It is helpful to know.

ETA: Not wanting a developmental edit is perfectly fine. Most indy authors don't have them (although I've read some that could really use one) but maybe we shouldn't attack the concept or misrepresent what one is.
Didn't mean to attack it. I don't know what it involves that's why I keep asking questions trying to understand what it is and why people say it's so important.

I only know what I read here and in other forums. Reading the explanation doesn't always make sense to me.
When I say I am one of those that don't know what they don't know I really mean it. Edits to me generally mean plot holes, grammar, spelling and inconsistencies. That I why I brought this up. I think there might be more than one uneducated newbie out there.

So when I see editors post like I have been it freaks me out.

I will say that if editors don't do something to uplift the authors spirit they should think about it. Spending pages upon pages telling a person in detail everything that is wrong with their baby/story can destroy a person. I have read countless experiences of that happening.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2019, 10:31:50 AM by idontknowyet »
 

JRTomlin

Re: Is editing really helping your book?
« Reply #120 on: December 02, 2019, 04:08:27 AM »
My response may have been unnecessarily harsh and I apologise if it was. People do need to understand what a developmental edit is. it basically includes everything except typos on the assumption that it is too early for fixing those. They need to be caught after all the other changes are made so more don't slip in. (A developmental editor may occasionally mention a typo but it's a freebie when they do)

If there is anything that might not be 'wrong' but might be improved or that is problematic, whether plot, characterisation, flow, transitions, symbolism, use of metaphors, absolutely anything, then the developmental editor will mention it. Then it is up to the author to decide whether or not to make a change. I have probably turned down more changes than I have accepted, but the ones I turned down make me think and decide if what I was doing was justified. What an editor does not do is re-write! And any editor who re-wrote something for me would quickly get the boot.

One of the hardest things for an author is finding a good editor. Even if you're working with a publishing company, that they are good or someone you can work with can be... a problem. My very, very first novel years ago, the developmental editor told me that the female archer was wrong because they couldn't be women because - boobs. At which point I had what I can only call a hissy fit and refused to work with her. The publisher accommodated me, although I don't know that they had to. I've gone through about half a dozen editors as an indy. I don't always use one any more myself.

i can understand not feeling you can or want to spend the money or that you need somene else to point things out to you, but I recommend the experience at least once. It can be eye-opening.

ETA: Much of what a DE does is show you ways it could be better, more than that it is 'wrong'. There are harsh and mean editors out there. I personally wouldn't work with one who would do an edit in a soul-destroying way. This is a tough enough business without feeling that your editor isn't on your side. What they are supposed to do is to show you ways to improve your work. And if they really hate it they should send it to be done by someone else.

There is also the problem of authors who cannot stand the idea of any criticism of their baby. For those, I can only suggest they need to get over it because there will be criticism.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2019, 04:17:16 AM by JRTomlin »
 
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PJ Post

Re: Is editing really helping your book?
« Reply #121 on: December 02, 2019, 04:11:59 AM »
A few observations:

Every author should use a professional developmental editor at least a couple of times, just so they can learn the mechanics. There is nothing obvious about writing a book.

For the most part, developmental editors shouldn't really be telling you how to fix anything, they should be pointing out deficiencies, be that missing motivation, pacing, paper-thin characters, plot holes, etc. Occasionally, mainly to save time, they might write an example of what they're talking about. But the author should be the one filling in the blanks and resolving the issues.

Most importantly, editing is not a critique. Editing is all about delivering the best book possible. Developmental editing digs deep into your narrative soup and reinforces the flavor profiles so as to make the book as entertaining as possible. Writers are often much too close to see their limitations - or, for that matter, their opportunities.

eta: I followed most of my developmental editor's suggestions because 95% of the time they were questions that both opened up the narrative, as well as deepened it. The most powerful developmental editing question is: Why?
« Last Edit: December 02, 2019, 04:18:42 AM by PJ Post »
 
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lea_owens

Re: Is editing really helping your book?
« Reply #122 on: December 02, 2019, 06:43:00 AM »
I was naďve enough (arrogant enough? ignorant enough?) to think I'd be fine self-editing - after all, I've been writing on-and-off for magazines for decades and already had a few books out, plus I'm an English teacher with a Master's in Education - if anyone should be able to self-edit, it should be me. Ouch. A year ago, when my new editor sent my polished manuscript back that I smugly knew contained no errors, I was very humbled. She's a retired accountant who spent decades poring through accounting documents looking for tiny errors, and her eye for detail made me look a goose - I completely missed repeated words, missing words, some sentences that seemed to lack an ending. It seems I read what I knew should be there, not what was there, and missed well over 100 errors in the 180k words (the book 'Muted') plus she suggested removal of some irrelevant passages that added nothing to the story. Her suggestions hurt my ego. She was right.

I followed all the self-editing tricks, and I was confident that I was an excellent self-editor. I won't publish anything without her going through it, now, though I am improving. The last book (Horses of the Rain - 80k words) was much cleaner, but she still picked up things I'd missed, including something introduced early that was left hanging because I forgot to bring it back in near the end to tie it off.

So, if anyone is reading this who thinks they don't need an editor - I used to be with you. I was a wordsmith. I was a genius with words. I taught grammar. I knew how to edit. I didn't need an editor. Nup - the old rule of 'the more you learn, the more you realise you have yet to learn' definitely applies.  I'd like to think I've risen up the author food chain from the krill end to perhaps sardine and I'm only using one editor who does everything, not a range of editors. Maybe if I was more successful, I'd use a variety of editors. Or maybe not. And I just checked Author Central - make that a small sardine - only two books under 100k today, though Muted does have 83 reviews and 76 of them are five star, so it might not be a financial success, but readers like it, and no one has found errors - so I'll stick with my one retired-accountant starting-out editor, who also acts as a developmental editor since I run stories past her before I start writing and she often suggests an addition or twist that adds to the story. 
 
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Lynn

Re: Is editing really helping your book?
« Reply #123 on: December 02, 2019, 07:33:08 AM »
Maybe that's the trick. I used to be an accountant before I went full-time writing fiction. :D

I have no vested interest in what other people choose to do with their publishing and writing careers. I just choose to do things my way, because I can. That's more important to me than any other aspect of this career.
 
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PJ Post

Re: Is editing really helping your book?
« Reply #124 on: December 02, 2019, 12:13:14 PM »
I enjoy reading other books far more than writing my own, so my goal is to share everything I know, to inform and to encourage other writers to do their best work, which, hopefully, will lead to long and amazing careers. The toughest obstacles to overcome are always the one's we cannot see - we don't know what we don't know syndrome. When it comes to writing, editors are, by far, the best teachers.
 
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sliderule

Re: Is editing really helping your book?
« Reply #125 on: December 02, 2019, 10:44:36 PM »
yWriter is up to version 7 now (and there's a mac one as well),

Oooh! Now you have my attention. One thing I really depend on is the ability to move work from Mac to desktop and if I can't have programs on both, it hampers my ability to use it.

Now I'm off to investigate.
 
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Simon Haynes

Re: Is editing really helping your book?
« Reply #126 on: December 03, 2019, 02:13:49 AM »
yWriter is up to version 7 now (and there's a mac one as well),

Oooh! Now you have my attention. One thing I really depend on is the ability to move work from Mac to desktop and if I can't have programs on both, it hampers my ability to use it.

Now I'm off to investigate.


Both versions use the same code so compatibility is assured.

It's just the front end (user interface) that I had to rewrite.


 
 
 

 
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