Tuesday, February 9, 2016

To edit or not to edit?

by Carysa Locke

This is a question I have seen bandied about writer’s forums, groups, and pretty much anywhere authors gather. Editing is a huge piece of publishing our work, and hiring an editor can often be the most expensive preparation for publishing. It is no mystery why many authors seek a less expensive option to fill this need. For me, though, a copy editor is worth their weight in gold.

I use three words a lot in my writing: finally, quietly and slowly. I kind of knew this but didn’t really know it until my copy editor included a note when she returned my latest manuscript: You use these three words a lot. You should think about other ways to say these things. This was one of those light bulb craft moments for me. 

I went through my manuscript and removed nearly every instance that used one of these words. Most of the time, it was completely unnecessary and in fact, disrupted the flow. It was a change that I felt elevated my writing to a higher level. Not only did it help me remove pesky adverbs that didn’t need to be there, but it changed how I was handling my dialogue tags. Many of them just weren’t needed.

Thankfully, this happened before the work in question went up for publication. I sent my copy editor a note, thanking her profusely for pointing out the issue. We all have –isms. Things in our writing that we tend to do particularly in a first draft, which we may not catch on our own when we revise. Some of these –isms speak to style, and some of them, like in this case, are just a thing that needs to be brought to our attention, so we can become more aware of it and fix it.

A lot of other writers may think I waste a lot of time sending out for edits and then going through and checking each one, deciding whether to keep it or leave things the way they are. For me, though, it will always be a part of my writing process. Hopefully, the next manuscript my copy editor goes through will come back a new note for me. Something I can learn from.  



Pirate Bound:

A desperate gamble… 

Sanah would do anything to protect her little sister, even if it means taking refuge with ruthless pirates. But the psychically Talented pirates terrorizing Commonwealth space are not quite the monsters she has been led to believe. When Sanah's empathic gift shows her the truth behind the stories, she is no longer certain who the villains are in her world. 

A race on the verge of extinction… 

Dem’s only goal is to protect his people, especially since a deadly bio-weapon decimated their population. Only a handful of women survived, and every day is a fight to rebuild. With Sanah’s empathy and her sister’s rare ability to heal, they could be the salvation Dem and his people have been looking for.  

A dangerous secret that could destroy everything… 

But how can Sanah trust Dem with her life? Especially when he’d kill her if he knew the truth.

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