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Does Editing a Manuscript get it Published? Part 1 of 12

I can say the answer is both yes and no. There can be to much of a good thing. Editing is a vital part to publishing, in fact it is unusual for a manuscript to get several edits from several different people.

It is a great thing if there are major issues with grammar, or spelling. No spell check doesn’t count as an editor. It’s also a great thing when one is working towards the goal of either fiction or non-fiction. Both require major substance edits sometimes. This leads to my question of how does one fix an editing problem?

I have an editor who is great, I suspect she is great because she can tell me what is wrong where and why it is wrong. The how is up to me. By this I mean, an editor can only do so many rewrites or grammar edits and comments. They don’t fix “big” problems. The author (me/you) does. Often it takes longer to fix an edit than it did to write the first draft of a manuscript. Perhaps it is the inner critic that makes it harder, or ego, when you think that one way is better.

Sometimes, however editors and edits are the best thing for both the manuscript and the author.  This might mean that you will need to spend some money, but this is in the long term a way to get more of your work published.

For myself, the best part of writing is the first draft. The next parts are harder. Not in the sense that you have to recreate something, more that you need to look through correct and question. I go through any manuscript line by line, reading out loud. This way I can hear the parts that need fixing up. This lets me fix more subtle mistakes as well. I also avoid rethinking to much, which is my biggest hurdle. We all know the one, rewriting one sentence over and over since we don’t want to fix the “big” problem, which can be anything, depending on the writing.

I’ll say this, anything that makes a manuscript better and published sooner is great. One question: As a writer do you have a mentor? (I’ll give my answer tomorrow)

4 Comments

  • Alissa

    I do not have a mentor. In the past I have belonged to writing groups, and that has helped me to hone my own inner editor, not just by having my own works critqued, but by critquing the works of others.

    Rebecca, I have to completely agree with you about first drafts. They are actually fun to write. Rewriting is task that I dread as well.

  • PrettySiren

    As a writer, my mentors are my peers. A lot of my friends are excellent writers and we are kind of an informal support group, making sure each other reaches their deadlines. And we also help edit each others work sometimes, being brutal with it if need be.

    I think it’s important to have a sort of kinship with fellow writers before you even reach the stage of having your work professionally edited. It kinda help puts the ego in place BEFORE you submit your work for publication — not to mention, it’s nice to have friends who know what you’re going through.

    But yeah. My writing buddies are definitely my mentors. They keep my head where it should be and focused on my work.

  • B.J. Anderson

    My mentor is my fabulous critique partner, Linda Sandifer. Even though she doesn’t write in the same genre as me, she’s been published multiple times and edits my stuff like no other. She is my lifesaver!!

  • Johanna

    Hi Rebecca..what a great blog you have!

    I have a critique partner that will tell me honestly what she finds weak and will cheer me on when I’m having trouble putting to rest a chunk of edits that I was particularly attached to. Of late I have stumbled upon a mentor of sorts who is published and has learned the ropes so to speak and I am forever greatful for the guidance she’s providing.

    But I still feel a long way from being published…but hope it is right around the bend!

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