Two Magical Words

Writing a book is a long, tedious process. It’s not as easy as people in movies make it look. We don’t just type “the end” and magically have a book in our hands. This is something that I have to remind myself too – because I will and do forget that.

The End. Every author knows that typing those magical words basically means; I’ve finally vomited out the first draft. There’s a beginning, a middle, and an end. I sort of have a book now.

The End doesn’t mean, well…the end. It is really just the beginning to the next chapter in the writing process – the revising, the editing, the comb through to make sure that everything is as it should be before it’s sent out to the editor, the proofreader, and the betas.

I actually have two sets of betas . The first are two individuals that I trust to tell me whether or not the story itself works. They are the first people to say “yeah, you know what? This is a steaming pile of shit” (or, if I’m lucky, “good job!”). From there, I’ll revise and edit again.

I don’t really like the editing part. It’s a headache and you need patience and if there’s one thing that is clearly lacking from my winning list of attributes, it’s patience. But nevertheless, I am determined to put out only the best. I won’t shove something that I haven’t done everything in my power to ensure is the very best I can get it and say “this is my book, enjoy!” It’s like having all your friends over for a fancy supper and serving them Kraft Dinner, and not even the kind you make the traditional way (from a box), but from those “microwavable Kraft Dinner cups”.

Gross.

I won’t lie; editing has never been my strong suit. My eyes glaze past the words I’m supposed to be editing. I start day dreaming about other things, like Charlie Hunnam or that intense episode of Outlander I just watched. I miss things…a lot of things. The first time I published a novel, I wasn’t even aware of how much I truly missed. I thought I picked through that manuscript with a fine-tooth comb. I didn’t realize that my eyes were glazed over and I wasn’t seeing the words on the screen. I was seeing my idea, the way I wanted it to go. Things got lost in translation.

That’s why we have editors and proofreaders and beta readers. They catch the things you can’t see, the things you are blind to because you’ve spent the last several months writing the novel and now the words don’t stand out in your own mind when you read. You fly through them.

Sometimes, when we look at our own manuscripts – we can’t see the imperfections. We just see our vision; our dream. Tell me to edit my work, and I’ll miss something every time. Tell me to edit someone else’s work, something I haven’t read before, and suddenly I have mad editing skills. Suddenly, I’m like the Beyoncé of editing.

This is why it’s important to have editors, proofreaders and beta readers. I didn’t know this when I first started. I thought an editor was all you needed. But they are ALL important. They are the people who let you know what’s up – what needs improvement, what totally worked for them, and what flopped like a dick on steroids.

I just finished my fifth book last week. And by that, I mean that I wrote “the end” at the bottom of my manuscript, but I’m far from finished. The next steps are the revising, the editing (or at least, the editing of what I can see), and finally…the hand off, where I lovingly hand off my baby to caring, trusting hands that will help me ensure it is perfect for publication.

Having beta readers, editors, and proofreaders – people who are basically not you – look at your manuscript will give you a serious advantage. They are all important parts that keep the machine in good working order. The beta readers are just as important as editors and proofreaders because they read the novel from a reader’s point of view; they are more focused on the development of the story and the characters. The editor’s goal is to improve the flow and overall quality of your work; they have the power to rewrite entire paragraphs to ensure the manuscript makes sense and is clear. The proofreader is the final pair of eyes on your manuscript, ensuring that there are absolutely no errors – spelling, punctuation, typos or incorrect use of English. All are crucial.

jchannigan

J.C. Hannigan is a married mother of two in her mid-twenties. J.C. is addicted to coffee, Instagram selfies, Cadbury Mini Eggs, and Dill Pickle chips (only not together, because that would be gross). She has been blogging for nearly 10 years, and won a Bloggie award some time ago. She writes new adult romance novels and currently has two books published, Collide and Consumed. You can find J.C. pretty much everywhere; except, it would seem…in the laundry room.

Visit J.C. on her website.

 

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2 thoughts on “Two Magical Words”

  1. I’m the same with patience; it’s long, it’s exhausting, and that’s just with my short stories, so I can’t imagine how much harder it’ll be with a novel. I’m currently on the first draft of my first ever (proper) novel, and the prospect of editing does make me hold back a little bit, but then again, finishing that draft, even if, like you said, is a steaming pile of shit, you’ve written it—you created those characters, that plot, and you have the time now to make it as best as you can.

    Though, do you have any tips or suggestions with finding proofreaders/editors?

    Like

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