The following is a guest post by Muffy Morrigan:
In all the years I’ve been around the publishing business, the one thing I’ve noticed is many people have a fear of editors. The fear has become so great, in fact, that more and more people are not even calling editors “editors” but using “beta” instead.
Why? Where does this editor-phobia come from?
I think the fear is that feeling that somehow this other person is going to dive into our creation and gut it. Destroy its little life and hand back something that we don’t recognize. That fear, I will admit, is not unfounded—although that is more an outgrowth of the dreaded “beta-ing”. For some reason in the world of the “beta” (at least as I have experienced it once or twice) completely changing the voice of an author is acceptable, rewriting is acceptable… The list goes on.
That is not editing, that is butchery.
Writers should never fear editing. They should look forward to it, and be eager for the pages to come back from their editor. The process of editing is the second most important thing any writer does. (The first, of course, is the writing.) Editing is like adding the facets to the diamond, making something beautiful into something exquisite.
When you reach the point and start looking around for an editor, maybe “audition” one or two. Ask them to edit a chapter, and see how it comes back. Editors, like writers, have their own style, and you need to find one that will fit you. They should understand and respect your voice and never change it. Of course there will be changes, but the essential organic nature of your prose should remain yours. An editor makes your writing better; they DO NOT make your writing THEIR writing. (Sadly, that is what I have seen over and over in the world of “betas”.)
I love the editing process, and I have several editors who offer me different things. I also have someone who just reads everything for continuity. She is a whiz at catching those errors that other people can miss because it is a flow issue. For example—the characters are by a lake in one chapter then a chapter later at a house with no segue.
I have been in the writing business for most of my life. My first publications were academic papers and a poem, then I spent years as a reporter, reviewer, columnist and editor for newspapers of all kinds, from dailies to an alternative newsweekly. After years of non-fiction writing and reviewing other people’s books I decided to embark on my own career in fiction and launched my Custodes Noctis Series. The Legacy, The Hunt and The Summoning are available on Amazon.com.
Born in California, Muffy Morrigan began her writing career at the age of six, when after completing her first hand written novel she attempted to sell it to the neighbors for the lofty price of ten cents.
After myriad careers, including archaeological consultant, teacher, herbalist, shop keeper, news editor, reporter and columnist, she has settled in to her first love and passion–writing. The author of the Custodes Noctis Series and the upcoming The Sail Weaver, she currently lives and works in the Pacific Northwest.