Extra Eyes a Boon to the Writing Process

A flower to dress up the post

Experienced writers armed with a worthy idea and educated in the craft of writing can create the framework for a good story in their first draft, but realize creating a great manuscript needs more than one mind and one pair of eyes.

In the recent flurry of digital publishing, the death knoll to a writer is flawed writing. The Big House Publishers provide many pairs of eyes guiding the writer to a publishable manuscript. The same level of scrutiny and assistance might not be available for digital publishing.  Writers planning to self publish or publish digitally can benefit  from critiques,  beta readers and experienced editors.

As writers, when we read our own work we miss things, nothing looks left out, wrong or unclear because the same brain that created the story fills in the blanks.  Our readers don’t get that kind of help.

Manuscripts need a thorough read by others to assist and advise the writer during the process of revision.  I learned rather late that revision and editing are not the same. Revision (not part of the first draft) includes some of the following:

  • Checking plots and subplots, World-building, Believability
  • Chapter, scene and paragraph structure, Point of view switches okay?
  • Tense, Clarity, Sequences
  • Goals, motivations, conflict, tension, dilemmas
  • Characterization and Emotional content
  • Story arc, character arcs
  • Hooks to keep the reader engaged
  • And so on …

Editing comes last, thus preventing the writer from wasting time editing passages changed or deleted during revision. Once the revisions are completed, the writer edits for style—such as varied sentence structure, stronger verbs, echoes (repeat words), tightening, fresh ways to describe, etc.  And hires an expert to do the line editing for typos, punctuation, spelling and grammar.

Who knew in the beginning of a writing career the scope involved in publishing a good book? But what an stimulating and challenging journey.

Tune in Wednesday for a discussion on critiques.

May your writing muses dance—even during the revision process.

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Laurie Ryan
    Feb 21, 2011 @ 19:26:04

    Great blog, Marion. It’s funny. I did a blog a couple weeks ago talking about how we don’t see some mistakes. The line below is easy to read because our brain deciphers a word if the first and last letters are the same:

    It deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are witren, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae.

    And that’s my new excuse for why, even with a plethora of eyes, we still find a mistake, or two, after publication. 🙂



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  3. Jacquie Rogers
    Feb 21, 2011 @ 18:36:30

    I’d bet . . . See, we all need editors. LOL



  4. Jacquie Rogers
    Feb 21, 2011 @ 18:35:18

    I agree with everything you said, although hiring someone depends on who is in your circle of readers. If you have professional editors as critique partners, you’re good. But even with editing, there still needs to be a proofreader for the final copy. I can’t believe how many mistakes my proofreaders found in the book I’m releasing now, but they did, and I hope I can make all the changes without messing up anything else.

    An editor and an agent had a discussion on Twitter today about how sad they are to read potentially good books that didn’t make the grade because of poor editing. The discussion was frustrating beyond belief because I’d be dollars to doughnuts that those books had been passed on by many editors and agents before it was self-pubbed . . . and they only now see the potential? #bangsheadagainstwall



  5. Janet O
    Feb 21, 2011 @ 18:33:27

    Nice post and nice layout.



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