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Why Editors Help Create Successful Writers #writing #editing

Another week is dashing by us, and I’m really appreciating all the votes last blog post got about what to do on the blog. If you haven’t voiced your opinion, feel free to go back a post and do so.

Today I decided to discuss a point of conversation with my critique partners–the role of editors in a writer’s career. Now, before everyone starts grabbing their spears and battle armor, hold up. Keep in mind, these blog posts, they’re all me-my opinion, my expierence and my issues, so while I’m hoping they provide some things to ponder, I, in no way, shape or form, expect the flag of public opinion to be waved frantically calling in reinforcements. One of the greatest things about being a writer, each of us comes at our craft differently, and each of our paths take completely different routes to our goals.

(brushing off hands) Okay, so with that warning given, let me dive in. (deep breath, perfecting diving pose, a leap, an arc, and perfect swan dive–scorecards flash 8, 9, 8.5)

I love my editors. That’s right, I am proud to announce I have more than one, more like five to six if you combine both sets from Black Opal and MuseIt. If you’re not familiar with what happens to your favorite book after your author types “#END#”, here’s a quick run down.

The poor baby begins a weight loss program. The first round will beat that baby down until it’s bawling in corner. The second round will coax it out, wipe its nose, then proceed to show it the way with some very straightforward talk. After some pouting, the story will straighten up, and face down the last round–where the final, professional polish will be applied–hair combed, pants pressed, shoes polished. Because of this, some writers have a love/hate relationship with their editors, they just love to hate them even as they lovveee the final product.

I am currently writing my fifth novel and the difference between SHADOW’S CURSE and SHADOW’S EDGE is…well…tremendous. As in, if I was doing the first book now with what I’ve learned, it might be a very different novel, but I digress. In 2011, I got my first round of edits back on SHADOW’S EDGE. I spent at least a week solid going over every point raised, making notes on style (don’t make this passive, show don’t tell), and pondering each question poised by her. This turned into long discussions via track changes through all three rounds, until I finally let the little bugger go and start walking on its own. It’s very difficult as a new author to release your clutching hold on your story and see it as a new reader, because you’ve breathed, cried, screamed at it for so long. Move ahead 6 months to SHADOW’S SOUL, this time the track change discussions we’re down to “got it” , “yep, I can see that”, or “What about this?”.

Then came SHADOW’S MOON and part of the reason I love my editors. Every bit of feedback I got from editors on the first two books pushed me to look at my craft critically and asked myself, what can I do to strengthen my writing? Challenge myself as a writer? Create something really cool for my readers?

I decided I wanted to change character perspective for my third book since Gavin and Raine needed some breathing room. Plus, well, I was challenged to write a romance. (Challenge me will you?) Not only did I want Shadow’s Moon to focus on the evolving relationship betweeen Xander and Warrick, but I decided to mix it up even more, I did two points of views in this story instead of my normal one. It wasn’t easy, but it did teach me quite abit about what I still had to learn and practice.

Then, mid 2013 when I handed off SHADOW’S MOON and the proposal for SHADOW’S CURSE to Black Opal’s caring hands, I decided to pause before starting Shadow’s Curse. I’ve been living in the Kyn universe for a long time, much longer than the publication dates on the books. Other characters and worlds were pestering me for their spotlight. Plus, since I write from limited third person point of view, and at one time wrote Shadow’s Edge completely from Raine’s POV (oh yes, much theraphy was needed after that), I decided to brave the wild new frontier of first person point of view.

Not as a New Adult story where first person seems very prevelant, but in an adult Paranormal Suspense story, one where I could explore my love of military suspense and paranormal abilities. But here was my challenge–I didn’t want every damn sentence to star with “I” . Come on, if all you hear is “I, I, I…” you may wanted to gouge out said “I’s” eyes. It wasn’t easy, it was difficult, enough so I almost gave up, but finally, FINALLY, I finished HUNTED BY THE PAST and it became part of the MuseItUp family. It also created a new series, the PSY-IV Teams.

This week, while working through the toughest Kyn book yet, SHADOW’S CURSE and the fiendishly difficult Natasha, I got hit with the edits for SHADOW’S MOON and HUNTED in one fell swoop. Anxious, I opened up the track changes leery I may soon find myself in a blood pile in front of my computer. Instead I got something better. Both editors left me notes, really heart warming ones on how much my writing had deepened and how much they were touched by the story. And this hard hearted wench of words, got a little bleary. There were still discussions and muttered comments (not in Track Changes because I didn’t want a hit put out on me), but I’m still loving my editors, because they are still providing me insight on things I can do better, ways to consider things differently, and how to ulitmately become a more successful writer.

So when the conversation arises among my partners in writing plots about what makes a successful writer, my first answer is: EDITORS.

Whether you’re Indie or Traditional or any mixture of writer, an editor can only help you. Not only can they give you an unbiased opinion on your work (Like my question this weekend of “So I’m going to change the POV on Book 2 of PSY-IV, you’re okay with that right?), they will keep your story straight, catch when you add an extra arm, leave a character standing at the side of the road, or another one decides to not only change hair color but their height (w/o shoes), they will the first one to push off that cliff of what ifs when you can’t get your feet to move. Because if you want to be a successful writer, you need to continue to grow your craft and your skill set. Otherwise–same story, different….you get the picture.

As a reader or writer, can you tell when a story lacks an editor?

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