cloudsriser: (Default)
I have a lot of editor friends and they're always griping about how authors don't do enough self-editing and all that jazz. When I edit for other people, I get this complaint because there are some errors I see where I go: "Really? Really author? How did you not notice this?"

Then I remember, I need to be gentle about these sorts of things. I remember the comments I got on old manuscripts that frustrated me and made me cry because I wanted to tell my editor: "Please, understand, I'm not trying to make you miserable!"

Here's the truth: Self-editing is hard.

First of all, from personal experience, I was never trained in all of the complicated rules of grammar. There were a number that were left out of my school curriculum because grammar has, essentially, turned into a crash course unit that's given in about a week, maybe two. As education shifts and changes, so does the way our storytellers produce their tales. Style is constantly changing and has over the centuries.

It is important for authors of the future to learn the rules of grammar, listen to their editors, and understand the craft that they are working in. Be open to learning and expanding. It is also important for those who do know the rules to be patient, not condescending, and willing to share their knowledge so future storytellers are not snuffed out because they are turned away from their art.

The second reason self-editing is hard? That moment when an author has spent hours upon hours, days upon days, months upon months, and sometimes even years, staring at that story trying to figure out all of the spots where it needs to be cleaned up before it even makes it to an editor. Words start to blur together, and the whole things feels like a mass of gibberish. In that moment, the author must choose: Keep trying, put it in a drawer until they can stand to look at it again, or say "I did my best, and now it's at the mercy of the gods."

Honestly, I do feel bad for my editors. I know that I could do a lot better. I promise, I'm not lazy, and I am trying my best to learn and grow and fix it myself too. Every day, I grow a little bit more in what I do, and get a tiny bit better at finding my mistakes. I look back at things I wrote ten years ago and am amazed at just how far I've come. So yes, editors, I am sorry that my book is always a mess. Possibly even a train wreck level of one. I'm sorry. I respect you and what you do. I value you and every grueling hour you put in looking at my work. I thank you for going to such great lengths to make my work be anything close to resembling amazing.

Please, just understand that it isn't a mess on purpose. That's all I ask, and to be patient and kind as you help me to continue to get better.

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