I'm delighted to introduce a very good friend and classy young lady from my neck of the woods to the blog today. Vacen Taylor is an inspiration and strong female role model, and today she's talking about... wait for it... editing!
When words freeze into their right place and whole sentences sound like they were written by a master wordsmith only then do I sit back and sigh. At that point, I pass the manuscript to an editor. The red pen comes out and the editor performs the task of a comprehensive edit. Out goes sentences to help tailor the text, bring clarity to the chapters and find every punctuation or spelling error I have missed in the last series of rewrites. And I thought I had everything just right. Pfff.
As an author I value the levels of editing but this is never done by me. I know many writers who do their own editing but I find when I have been rewriting a manuscript for a length of time I never feel comfortable enough to do the final edit. My eyes see things the way they want and it reads the way I want it to sound. A fresh pair of eyes can pick out the flaws, the mistakes and check the proper order of things. It’s a craft all of its own.
These days I try to be careful when I plot or create a story arc, characters or even when I’m researching for a story. I’m happy with my experience and knowledge in doing this now. I’ve grown wiser. These things take time for me. I’m not one of those writers who can knock out a book in six months. However, I do write for different industries (film, theatre, novels) these days and that breaks up the grind of writing one specific manuscript. All of the substantive editing, copyediting or proofreading tasks necessary for high-quality publication needs to be done by someone who is confident in the art of editing. If you feel you are good at that then I’d say go ahead. As for me, I’d prefer to hand that job over to an editor. This way I can save my ugly cry brought on by frustration, stress, word delirium for moments when I really need it. Like when someone dies in Game of Thrones.
I’ve been lucky enough to work with a few great editors so I’ve never had a difficult time with the process. In fact, I’ve always grown from the experience, learnt something new or been challenged to remedy any problems. If you are willing to rise to the challenge of an editor than I guarantee your manuscript will improve.
Whether it’s a short story or large manuscript it will always need another pair of eyes to look over the work. Now, I know people complain about the cost of editing but it’s worth it if you want a high-quality product. I know many times I have missed a spelling error or the correct word order and it has cost me a place in an anthology or a short story competition. So if I can leave you with one bit of advice: If the story is worth writing then it deserves the best chance for publication. If you have it professionally edited it will be in with a chance.
Vacen Taylor is an Australian author. She started writing short stories in 2009 being published in international e-zines. Her accomplishments include the publication of three children’s books in the Starchild series with Odyssey Books. Vacen is also a screenwriter, winning the Best Short Screenplay titled, Foiled in The Good Dog International Film Festival.
Her first play titled, Crazy Plastic Love was selected to be part of the Playwrights Program 2017 at The Arts Centre Gold Coast, having the opportunity to work with a director and actors for a performance reading with an audience.
When she’s not world building with her writing, she’s most likely reading, studying, watching films or volunteering.