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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Friend or Foe?

Like a new recruit standing at attention, rigidly sweating bullets as his drill sergeant walks up and down the line just waiting for that one newbie to make eye contact, I await the first set of changes from my new editor.

She's tough, or so I've been warned. Actually the exact words were, "be afraid, be very afraid..."

So as each passing day dawns, with new and varied ways for my imagination to spike my anxiety, I gotta ask myself. Friend or Foe?

From what I understand, an editor's job is to take your manuscript, the story you wrote, edited, read and reread, spit and polished beyond and inch of its life, and dissect it. For those of us who have been through the process, it's not a pleasant one. Based on that alone, you'd naturally think...foe, right?

But there's always the other hand.

You want your story to be the best it can be. It's what all authors want...that and a spot on the NY Times Bestseller List. So a good editor is a necessary evil. Just think about the stigma and the slings and arrows many self-pubbed authors have to endure and you can appreciate why. It's the most common element cited in negative reviews across the board. Poor editing.

As much as it may pain you to have someone look at your work with an ice-cold eye, in the long run it makes for a much better story, and that leads to better reviews and increased sales.

Friend or Foe? I think the answer is neither one. The best way to describe a good editor is the term, Devil's Advocate...someone who can see the promised land and knows how to get there, but is going to make you work for your rite of passage.

Editing may be a jagged little pill, but a good editor knows how to bury it in a spoon full of sugar.

I just hope mine agrees.


  1. As an editor, as well as a writer, I appreciate your positive comments about what we do. Having been on both sides of the editing table, I, too, appreciate what a good editor can do to help me make my book better.

  2. And that is the bottom line . . to be the best you can be. It takes two, the number of cooperation. Ironic? Naw . . . it's just the way it is. Good post!

  3. Thanks ladies...I'm sure I'm just falling prey to my overactive imagination. I mean it's not like my editor is going to unhinge her jaw and swallow me whole or anything! LOL!

  4. As a fairly new editor, I appreciate that you say that editors are neither "friend nor foe". LOL Being referred to as a 'Devil's Advocate' is a good one, too!

    I know my goal is to make an author's story even more enjoyable to readers.

    Lea Ellen {night owl in IL}

  5. As a writer I have a terrific phobia of allowing anyone to read my fiction. As an editor I can be clinical and very critical when I edit. Maybe that's why I have such a fear of my work being read. Oh well, maybe I should focus on one or the other and stop straddling the fence, lol.

    I'd like to enter the contest.

    Born: October 31, 1973
    Time: 1:14am
    Place: Courtland, Alabama

    Thanks for offering the chance to win a chart!

  6. I agree, a good editor is worth her/his weight in gold. My editors at Ellora's Cave (first Suz, then Jilly) have been terrific at finding places where my manuscript needed tweaking. So happy to have them in my corner!

  7. Califia . . . smart move having your birth data already on the post! Now I need an address should you win! Halloween . . . my favorite holiday too! You sound like an editor after my own heart! LOL!

  8. I am neither an author or an editor but find it interesting as my daughter wants to write so I am learning all I can for her!

  9. It is hard to tell a person that something is wrong but it helps them in the end.
    September 4 1960
    12 am
    Iowa City , Iowa


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