A developmental editor might seem as mysterious as a witch mixing ominous potions into a cauldron while you're strapped to a slab of wood, watching with hope or horror. All you have to do is drink this fresh, sparkling concoction, and a) your writing troubles will be over, or b) your book will be destroyed.
(My new superpower revealed.)
Have you ever wondered about that mysterious part of a writing journey between story development and fixing your grammar? A magical place exists called line editing or substantive editing, in which an editor goes through your writing line by line to make your writing stronger, clearer, more elegant, with flow and rhythm and shine.
Remember that time you met someone who loved Firefly as much as you do? There was excited squealing and reminiscing over your most favorite parts, laughing at the same jokes, and before you knew it, you were rushing halfway down the aisle of bestie-hood.I have this reaction with one of my authors.
This blog post is a little bit different than my others. I was discussing this subject with a writer friend, and I realized this isn't really talked about enough. When choosing a developmental editor (DE), there are a bazillion articles and posts about what to look for: training, skill, rates. And while all of that is important, a writer-editor relationship is so much more than that. And it may or may not be a healthy one.
This year will be my first time attending the Romance Writers of America (RWA) Annual Conference and I'M NOT AT ALL OVERWHELMED. I'm somewhere between terrified and ecstatic. And mostly overwhelmed.
You may have heard the common writing craft advice: Act first, explain later.
This doesn't work out when you're pouring your fifth glass of wine and drunk-texting a confession to BFF about eating the last bag of Cheetos your husband had been pining for (I would never!).
But it's great if you're giving a story beginning or a scene instant momentum, engaging readers to follow something exciting, and showing how a character reacts or makes decisions under pressure.
Revising a novel gives me the same dread I felt when writing the saggy middle of my story. I was standing at the beginning of an unending cracked desert and had no idea how to get to the other side. Mouth goes dry. As does every impulse. But in order to get from a crappy first draft to a polished manuscript, you have to go through the storm—the parts that hold your story together, the big stuff. Luckily, I've pieced this process into three steps that keep me sane.
Maybe you have the meet-cute down, but struggled with the climax (ooh-la-la). Maybe your characters have wit but lack chemistry. Maybe the chemistry is hot, but the plot is lukewarm. Maybe you’re incredibly frustrated with not knowing what to revise. Or maybe you’re the opposite: You have a solid novel with just a few kinks. Whatever your writing woes entail, one thing is certain...
Today I'm writing about developmental editing practices. Specifically, when to edit and when to comment - both tools of Track Changes. But navigating an entire manuscript can seem daunting when we're working with authors on a creative level. We need to get as close as we can to the content, live in the author's fictional world, without overstepping.
There’s nothing more overwhelming than sitting down to a messy draft and preparing yourself for revision. You know there are problems, you may even know what to fix, but then all that text seems like a storm of activity ready to confuse and drown you. Are you ready for an easy way to organize your scenes?