I’ve done a lot of editing in the past fourteen years. Both to my own work and others. And I’ve noticed that all authors have their own brand of mistake that they can’t see through. They may even critique it  in other groups, about other authors, without noticing it in themselves. This is normal. It’s not hypocrisy. Writers have blinders on when it comes to their work. It takes a long time to notice these mistakes and train themselves out of them, and a first draft, no matter how long the writer has been writing, will have these weaknesses. They crop up. Especially if the writer is trying to finish something in a certain period of time.

Here’s a few examples: Spelling. Personally I’m terrible at this and rely heavily on spell check and online dictionaries. Missed commas, missed words, repeated words in a few sentences that don’t reinforce a need or emotion in the characterization or plot.

This is why editors exist, grammar Natzi’s, if you wish. Harsh as that sounds.

But editing is more than grammar, more than copy, it even goes further than sentence structure and flow. There’s structure for a novel that comes into play – developmental editing is a term I keep seeing lately. For the best book on novel structure – in my opinion – see Larry Brooks Story Engineering.

What I see some editors miss, especially those not formally trained, is that the author has a voice and a style and a way of saying things that needs to be respected. Something to be noticed. And this style needs to be acknowledged in the editing, and the note taking for changes to be made in a manuscript. It’s not just a matter of deleting, changing, or modifying sentences, paragraphs or whole chapters of a book. Good editors, truly involve the author in the process.

If your editor isn’t doing this, it may be unconscious, or ego, or training, so give him or her a break, let them know. Don’t take everything they do as gospel, but, stay open to their ideas and suggestions. This has some of the same components of a writing group. It takes a certain amount of bravery. And in the case of an editor, you’re often paying for a service. This means you get to define the experience before it starts. So take part.

A good editor is like a good therapist, they take time to find. Look well.

Hug something today, rocks and walls don’t count.