Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Problem #2: Your editor is a worse writer than you are.

Someone edited Twilight
I am a fan of Reasoning With Vampires – the blog that analyses the publishing equivalent of Godzilla – that is the Twilight saga.

The posts pointing out just how awful Bella and her sparkly pals are secondary in importance to the analysis of why the writing (and editing) of these novels is just so bad.

Twilight is a great example of filling a market with shit – because people will buy it because they don’t care that it is shit.

As a writer I study Dana's blog because it tells me why I should structure my sentences in a certain way. Why I should use punctuation in a certain way and why good editing is essential.

I do a lot of editing. I edit my own work (over and over again), I critique other people’s work (and have been asked to leave some critique groups because I give objective feedback not constant praise and gushy circle-jerking hugs over complete crap).

I've had some positive feedback, people who recognise that as an editor I don't know you, I don't care about you and I'm not telling you what is wrong with your story or chapter because I am an asshole. It's because I don't care about anything but the words in front of me and the story those words are trying to tell. 

A self-published author told me recently that my edit of the first chapter of his current novel project picked up things that a $1200 professional edit did not.

I start asking myself if maybe I should be offering my editorial services for a fee. 

But back to Twilight, someone was actually paid to edit those novels. They ignored the atrocious writing, punctuation abuse and other obvious faults and rubber stamped the manuscript for publication. 

Actual editing had nothing to do with the publishing process of Twilight. Marketing was the only department that had any input on that job.

Editors are essential. Finding one who is worth the fees they charge is a challenge - but no book should be published by anyone without a decent edit by an objective third party.

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