Monday, September 13, 2010

An Editor on Self-Editing

An editor doesn’t need an editor, right? Wrong. Nobody is “on” one hundred percent of the time. Some people say we fall in love with our words and can’t see our own mistakes because of the rose colored glasses we’re wearing. If we’re so good at finding errors in other people’s writing, why wouldn’t that ability translate to our own work?

As an editor, I’d love to say the whole thing is a myth and that I can always spot flaws in my own writing, but that just wouldn’t be true. While I may notice more errors in my story than someone who isn’t an editor, I’m not perfect. Mistakes will slip by if I’m not careful. To avoid this, I’m a part of a critique group.

Rumored Romantics, my critique group, keeps me in line. For me, the hardest flaws to spot in my own story have more to do with plot issues than grammar. I become so involved in the imaginary world I’ve created that I can see the scenes acted out in my mind’s eye. I feel what the characters are feeling and get too emotionally involved to make necessary judgment calls like whether a car chase scene is really moving the story in the direction I need it to go. This is totally different when I’m editing someone else’s manuscript. Although I follow the story, I can keep myself removed enough to see when characters aren’t fully developed or when the plot is filled with holes.

How can a writer, who’s not trained as an editor, improve her manuscript? Aside from joining a critique group like I did, there are a couple of tricks you can use to better edit your own work.

Come back Wednesday when I’ll reveal my tricks.

Until then, I’m still looking for writing to critique on my blog. I have one volunteer, but I’d like to have a few more before I start the process. I’m looking for writers who’d like feedback on their first 500 words. I’ll post the unedited version on my blog as well as the critiqued version, where others can comment on either. If you wish to be one of my Guinea pigs, I mean volunteers, then send me an email to: lynnette_labelle at hotmail dot com. Please put “Blog Critique” in the subject area so I know it’s not spam. To be more specific, you can send your first 500 words as an attachment or pasted in the email, but don't send DOCX. I haven't upgraded yet and won't be able to open it. Thanks.


  1. Count me in...any particular genre?

  2. Great! Anything but children's books and erotica would work. Middle grade, YA, and anything else is fine as long as it's the beginning of a novel, not a short story because the expectations are different. Thanks.

    Lynnette Labelle

  3. Wow--that is generous of you to do that:) I might take you up on it as I have wanted to try something new.

  4. Oh, can't wait to see what you have in store for us.


  5. Just sent you an email!! :)

    I've been through the whole editing process for one noel with my editor... I learned so much from her!!! At lest i think I have. I;m interested to see how it goes with my next book.....we'll be starting copy edits soon!! That will tell me whether or not I did actually learn from my mistakes!!

  6. Editing your own there's a mountain to climb. :)