Be Your Own Editor

 Today I took a break from my study of a bestselling writer, (I can handle only so much romance before it makes me cynical). Instead, I picked up a thriller. To say I found it less than thrilling is an understatement. (See what I mean about becoming cynical?) I hope in my search to become a publishable writer I do not lose my love of reading, but I can feel it happening. I get caught up in the words and lose the story.

And the authors are not helping.

In this particular thriller, a character was supposed to be a precise individual who did not use contractions. The writer did fine for most of the first chapter, then forgot what his character’s persona was and started contracting all over the place. So, is the character precise? How do I know if the author does not?

According to Emerson, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” Some authors must think any consistency is an indication of a small mind, or they do not know the meaning of the word. The only consistency I see is poor writing.

Okay, so I will give the author the benefit of the doubt. I know that sitting at a keyboard for any length of time can be rough, and that one can get so involved in one’s own story that one loses track of the words one is typing, but that’s why there are editors.

Are there editors, though? I don’t see much indication of it. Too many elemental mistakes are being made by authors who should know better.

The moral of today’s tale? We must learn how to be our own editors if we hope to reach the brass publishing ring. This blog is no place for a tutorial on editing, but you know how to do it anyway. Make sure you use proper grammar (except for when you purposely do not want to use it). Take out all unnecessary adverbs and adjectives, remembering that most of them are unnecessary. Remove anything, no matter how much you love it, that does not move the story along.

And be consistent.

2 Responses to “Be Your Own Editor”

  1. intotheforest Says:

    Have you read Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King? They state in their introduction that most editors today don’t edit. They acquire. Books apparently don’t get the same treatment in terms of editing that they used to so you’re right: it’s up to the author.

    I understand what you mean by writing making it harder to enjoy reading. It’s not a lost cause, though. It may be harder to find authors you love to read but stick it out and you’ll find some. Then you’ll enjoy their books even more.

  2. Bertram Says:

    I did read the book, which is why I didn’t want to go into detail about how to self-edit. They did a much better job than I could within the confines of this blog.

    I appreciate your comments. Maybe someday I will find an author I can enjoy. I hope so. Reading was always a big part of my life.

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