Attempting to edit your own manuscript is like trying to perform your own circumcision; you want it to look good when you’re done, but you also want it to work.
I’m not sure self-editing without any outside help is possible to achieve both variables.
Ideally, you want an editor who is two out of three of the following:
More knowledgable in grammar and prose than you.
Finding one who is all three is ideal, however, for the self-publisher, finding an inexpensive editor who is two of the three is best.
Let me back up for a moment…
I finished a semester in Compositon 2 in college which consists of writing argumentative essays in varying degrees of business arguments. For the final project, we had to take one of our essays and adjust it to a different audience; in other words, re-write it for a completely different demographic. Some people made magazine articles, some made information brochures…one student created a YouTube commercial about gun control which evoked an excellent use of ethos and pathos, changing the tone of his essay from technical information to more of a heart-tugging info-mercial which nailed the target audience perfect.
Me, being the sadistic dumbass I am, decided to incorporate all three essays into a pulpy scienc-fiction 1950’s style novelette. So, I wrote a book. To make matters worse, I spent too much time outline and free writing the back stories of all the characters involved and thought I had another week to write and edit the story…instead, I had two days.
I’ll say that last line again, I wrote and edited the entire book in two days.
17,350 words, 7 chapters, including the art, all done over the course of a weekend.
And, if it wasn’t for the help of my friends Jack and James to read and help me stay on track, I wouldn’t have finished it in time. But, it’s done and its free.
You can grab it on Amazon or (my preference because its free) on Smashwords…I’ll post the link when I get to something other than this iPad. But if you want to search for it, it’s called “The Crimson Chip.” My wife named it, since the name I picked was something lame…like the bells of Saint Anne or something cheesy along those lines… (St. Anne isn’t in the story, other than the bells ring in the opening scene…)
However, to get back to my main point, I asked my ex-wife, who is an excellent editor, to read it and tell me what she thinks. She told me today that she has a list of things she would like to see changed.
It’s exactly what I wanted! A editor who can tell me what I did wrong or question why things are sticking out in the story for strange reasons… I know she reads professionally edited books from Dean Koontz and such and edits them while she reads, so I’ve been dying for her to help me with something I’ve written, however, due to our electric past, this usually raised a red flag – despite me saying its what I’m looking for in an editor… Like Matt Wallace..
Anyway, if you’d like to read the story as it is now, go grab it. When I get the list of what’s wrong from her, I want to delve in and start fixing things and learn from these mistakes to grow and make my writing clearer.
I also plan on writing more now that I have time due to school ending for the semester, however there are other things going on which I’ll explain in other posts.
Tll then, the twins are up, need to change some diapers and get little my oldest off Minecraft…