I’m thrilled to welcome author, business owner, and good friend, Jessie Clever to Long Story Short.
When I Get Excited I Leave Out Words
and Other Reasons Why I Hired an Editor
Here’s the thing: I write romance novels. Romance novels have been given such monikers as smut, grocery store check out line reading material, and my favorite, bodice rippers.
But for all of those romance novel naysayers out there, I challenge you with this: have you written a book lately?
Writing a book no matter its subject, purpose, or intended audience is an incredible feat, and a journey that a writer often takes alone. I cannot remember all of the times someone has given me a funny look when I say I’m romance novelist to then follow with, “I have an idea for a book, but I don’t know how to start,” or another favorite, “I started writing a book.” Notice they said started and not finished?
Writers don’t need to go it alone, and writers need not be ashamed of whatever it is they write. Writing a book is a tremendous journey, and it is one that begs for company.
There is no greater company than that of a good editor, and that is why I never release a book without the support of How Novel Editing.
Here are 3 reasons why you need to hire an editor for your manuscript:
Reason #1: Blinders
You sit alone in a room and write 100,000 words. This is not normal behavior. At all. Don’t try to pretend that it is. You’re sitting there staring at a computer screen for hours on end with little to no human interaction. (Procrastinating on Facebook doesn’t count as human interaction. Nice try though.) When a person has a relationship with anything so intimate as that between writer and manuscript, the blinders can creep up with neither party realizing it. Blinders can prevent you from seeing plot holes, characters doing things out of character, and my guilty party: leaving out words.
An editor is the intervention. The editor stands between you and this thing you’ve come to love in the quiet solitude of 100,000 words. An editor will give you the honest objectivity you need to better understand what it is you’ve written so that you can not only grasp concepts such as theme, character arc, and plot, but also the nitty gritty details like the difference between breath and breathe.
Reason #2: The Bigger Picture
This builds on top of reason #1. The big picture is something that many writers can lose track of when determining if this is a scene or a sequel, if the character has the right motivation, if this plot point should happen here or later. The details are so messy and the writer is so involved in them during the day-to-day writing process, that the bigger picture can get lost. But when the bigger picture is lost, so, too, is the reader. There can be nothing more awful than that.
Let the editor be your guide through the big picture. I say be your guide through it, because an editor doesn’t only step in at the end of a manuscript. An editor can help you from conception of the idea to outline to first draft. Lean on your editor for that support. Use him or her as a sounding board when you find yourself getting lost. Hire an editor to ensure you never lose sight of that bigger picture.
Reason #3: Because You Can’t Write a Manuscript Without One
You may now be thinking, “Um, yeah, I can actually write a manuscript without one.” Well, hate to tell you, but you can’t. In this age of digital publishing, readers will not stand for a manuscript that has not been excessively edited. Gone are the days when you could slap something up in the digital world and have readers devour it. Readers are demanding more, and if readers demand more, so must editors and agents. Whether you’re looking to go the self or traditional publishing route, you will need an editor behind you. The editor can mean the difference between a sale and nothing.
Writing is a business. When you are serious about your writing, you treat it as such. No good businessperson would allow a product to go out to the market without a quality check. No writer would miss the opportunity to become better at her craft. Prove to yourself that you’re serious about your writing. Hire an editor.
Armed with the firm belief that women in the Regency era could be truly awesome heroines, Jessie began telling their stories in her Spy Series, a thrilling ride in historical espionage that showcases human faults and triumphs and most importantly, love.
Jessie makes her home in the great state of New Hampshire where she lives with her husband and two very opinionated Basset Hounds.
Learn more about Jessie at jessieclever.com.