“Myth #1: A good writer doesn’t need an editor.”

I’m experiencing a lush mania for researching the roles and types of editors out there. I found a warm, useful little article from Huffington Post regarding myths about editors.

“There’s a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding about editors and what they do. Here are seven of those myths that I’d like to clean up:

Myth #1: A good writer doesn’t need an editor.

In these days of self-publication and “service” publishers — who take a percentage of sales for letting the author do all of the work — you hear this a lot. “I’ve slaved over this manuscript for years. I checked it through a hundred times. Microsoft Word’s Spelling and Grammar comes up clean. It’s ready for publication.”

Want an example of a professional book from a world-class author who convinced her publishers to put out the book as-is, without a deep developmental edit (see #3 below)? Look at J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Pretty good book, and it’s sold millions of copies, absolutely — but it’s at least a hundred pages longer than it needs to be. There’s needless repetition, uneven pacing, and side-plots that go nowhere. You’ll notice that the previous and subsequent books in the bestselling series were much shorter and much tighter. Rowling worked more closely with her editors.”

you literally lose some and win some..

I applied for Overlands 3 months internship (starting early next year) and by chance, for their editing position as well. I spent a fair amount of time on those applications and suited the selection criteria pretty darn well (which is new and brilliant to me). I didn’t end up getting either.

I’m reminded that this process is slow with plentiful rejections, unanswered emails and dead ends, but there are also breaks. I got an unforeseen email that suggested that someone out there knows my work and thinks I am worthy of their time. I got an email from Duncan Felton about being part of the editing team for Grapple Publishing‘s second annual. It’s a fair compliment to be able to jump the application process and be asked to be a part of this project. This is just the kind of editing opportunity I need too.

I am much flattered and grateful to be offered this placement. It will certainly give me some editing experience and clout. But most of all, it might let me know if I like content editing as much as I think I do. Which is particularly valuable as I am considering a few possible shorter courses or degrees. If editing turns out to be my thing, then with a bit more training and some experience behind me, this could turn into a tangible, paid occupation; the holy grail I am looking for!

That’s a lot of, “if this goes this way, I might” but as any writer and artist will know, we live off the moments that give us even a snifter of direction and encouragement. I still have days where I am nearly in tears explaining how stuck I feel, or I’m being talked out of my relapse into embarrassment that I don’t have a job yet.

So I turn every opportunity and rejection into meaningful information about my direction if I can. I likely didn’t have enough editing experience or training to get the Overland jobs. That’s ok! Knowing this and being part of the smart Grapple editing group might help me get the next opportunity.

It all counts and has value.

 

I’ll keep you posted on the Grapple experience.