As a writer, you can only edit yourself to a small degree. You need someone to look at the big picture from a professional standpoint and let you know what’s working and what isn’t. A good editor will help you mold the story into your vision; they’re not going to turn your story into something that it isn’t. At least a good one won’t.
Not every editor will be right for you, so take your time to find the right one. However, just because they tell you to cut your favorite scene, doesn’t mean they’re the wrong fit for you. Or you could be like me, and when I get favorable feedback, I think they must not be very flawed since there has to be something wrong! Crazy, I know.
How do you get an editor when you aren’t part of a publishing house?
(Note, she will have limited availability in this upcoming year)
I have to admit that I feel super pretentious when I say “my editor,” as I fling my giant scarf over my shoulders in my giant hat and sunglasses, but I really do have a real-live editor that reads over my work before I move forward, and she’s incredible. She’s opened my mind to new possibilities with the simplest of notes.
There are a few other types of readers as well. You can also have people "beta read" your story/script. This is when you hand them the draft and they make notes or just tell you what they think. It's just like an editor, but they don't have to be professionals. They can even just tell you if your story is appealing to them or not. This is helpful information.
A newer one for me is a Sensitivity Reader. Let's say you're writing about someone in a wheelchair. You as the writer haven't experienced life in a wheelchair at all. So you give your story to someone who has lived life as a wheelchair user and they read your script to see if you got the experience right and/or make sure you haven't written anything possibly offensive. This is especially helpful when writing about specific groups of people or experiences.
So prepare a story pitch and get out there and pitch to editors! Yes, you have to sell them on your story just as you would a publisher. They have to love your story in order to have the drive to help you craft it into something you’ll love!
Wait, how do you pitch your story when you don’t even know how to write it in a succinct fashion? Stay tuned!
Tomorrow's topic: The Spreadsheet Writing Method
Until then, are there any topics you'd like to cover? Questions about publishing you want answered? Let me know in the comments!