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The artistry of editing

When in the act of writing, absorbed by the process and furor of creation, word choice can sometimes take second place to the story one is trying to tell. When swept up in the work of defining characters, story arc, plot, etc., the author can overlook things such as extraneous words.

That’s why editors exist! We see the words, the sentence, the paragraph, as individual entities as well as pieces of the whole. Each word is examined for its purpose as well as its tone, its function and its form. Editors are there to see the best possible way to present the author’s words so that they shine.

https://www.copyediting.com/clamp-unhelping-verbs/#.WcQLzY_TXYV

Media Training for Authors – Introduction and Opening the Door – Don’t be shy!

Getting noticed as an author and making the most of it…

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

I have been an Indie Author for 20 years and without a massive budget behind me to get noticed, I had to push open a few doors myself. For most of it is very hard to self-promote, even for someone like myself, who have a background in public speaking at conferences and major events.

We have a tendency to think global with our marketing because we have access to the world via the Internet. But I have always sold more books, especially print books by creating a market in my local environment. When I first began marketing my books there was no Amazon, worldwide web or global readership to the same extent and we relied on local media picking up the story. This sometimes led to nationals then taking an interest. That is how it worked with my first book Size Matters and I enjoyed both local and national coverage…

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How to write a book…

Excellent advice for new writers! Especially this part:

“It is true that writers generally make terrible editors and proofreaders of their own work. With the best will in the world, and even if you sit there with eyes propped open with matchsticks until the words dance on the page, you will miss something. Every time. Whether you can afford a host of professional services or whether you do all the work yourself, you owe it to yourself and to your book to present it to the best of your ability. Unless you believe in it enough to do so, then why should anyone else?”

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

Image: Pixabay

There are more books being written and published at this moment in time than ever before. Self publishing has opened the doors to a global sharing of imagination and knowledge, but when you pick up the proverbial pen for the very first time, it can seem a daunting task. How do you start, where does it end… and how can you define success?

There are a plethora of resources available online to help writers start, explore or hone their craft. It matters not at all what you are looking for, there is something available. Whether you want to know how to write the vilest of villains or avoid creating a histrionic heroine,  advice, good, bad and indifferent is easily located thanks to the power of the internet.

Most of this advice, it is true, is aimed at writers of fiction. There is a tendency to generalise and the…

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It takes a super mind to see the opportunities for improvement!

Why is it that when you spend hour upon hour, day upon day, writing something, you can still miss all the punctuation and spelling errors that an editor will pick out so quickly? It can feel quite daunting. Don’t feel badly, though. Your brain is programmed to ignore them, as this article explains so well (https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fcarriewatts2%2Fposts%2F10214024726669541&width=500” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Society for Editing: Good Copy editors are Abnormal Humans). It takes a very unique person to look past the automatic response to see all the ways to improve a project. That’s why copy editors and editors are here – the super heroes of the written word!

Copy Editors Matter

Another excellent summary as to why editors and copy editors matter.

Northern Editorial

newspaper editors

Yesterday copy editors on Twitter came out in solidarity with their colleagues in the New York Times.

The paper is reported to be shifting to be more reporter focussed and is cutting down on the number of copy editors in the team from over 100 to around 50. And expecting the same level of accuracy in its written material.

As you would expect there is outrage, upset and a whole load of copy editors soon to be out of jobs. At a time when you would expect that accuracy would be foremost in the minds of the media.

I don’t work there so can’t comment other than it seems to be the state of things to come.

To give them their due, the New York Times actually reported on the walk-out.

If you want to see the Twitter thread go and search for #whyeditors

newspaper editor

I’d like to say I…

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Why does editing matter? Ask the writers at the New York Times.

Many people ask me what an editor does, really. After all, MS Word has spell check, right? So why does someone need to pay for an editor? Lots of writers feel like editors just want to find faults and don’t understand what they were trying to say.  But nothing could be further from the truth. Editors see the best that something can be, in structure, grammar, historical accuracy, etc., and when doing his/her job correctly, the writer will feel like s/he has a partner in bringing out that best version for everyone to see. An excellent editor will achieve that without allowing his/her own voice to overwhelm that of the author’s.

I give a hearty thanks to those who recognize the importance and value of editors and copy editors. I hope the NYT management changes their direction on this decision – cutting editorial staff will only breed errors. 

“We writers are not in need of a companionable read before someone hits the send button on our articles. We don’t need a stroke and a purr. We want forceful, focused intellects brought to bear on our work.”

(http://www.poynter.org/2017/new-york-times-reporters-plea-for-copy-editors-jobs-in-letter-to-bosses-update5/465240/New York Times article)

Protect your creative energy

Do you know Glennon Doyle? If not, I highly recommend her blog, Momastery. She is one of the most inspiring women I’ve ever come across and her words are GOLD. She just always knows the RIGHT. THING. TO. SAY. And exactly how to say it. She creates truly beautiful, insightful pieces.

You could be easily think that she must toil away for hours and hours on these blog posts, wearing herself out on every little detail until it’s just perfect. But here is what I love about her. In one of her posts (Momastery: Rules for a Creative Life), she talks about how, in order to stay positive and keep your energy flowing, you have to know when to let your work go and release it to the world, then leave it without looking back. Work on it to get it to as high a standard as possible then wish it well and don’t feel the need to defend it. 

WOW. This is mind-blowing to me. Having worked directly with many authors and artists, and being a writer myself, I know the struggle of stepping away from your work, leaving it naked and defenseless. My experiences as an editor, though, have taught me that holding it too long, too close will suffocate it while wearing you down in the process. You must let out your words to breathe, both for the sake of your work and your ability to create more. Getting that balance right is important. 

So imagine my delight when Glennon agreed with me! Well, not personally, but you know what I mean. And she had the added inspiration for this new social media age of “Don’t read/respond to the comments.” Wise advice for a very prolific writer! Can you imagine trying to be creative while bearing the weight of all the negativity that people unleash in comment sections? Not possible. Of course, taking constructive criticism from someone you trust who can help you raise your work to the next level (such as an editor like me, or a close friend who can be objective), but no one said you need to subject yourself to endless public debates on the relative quality of your work (or personal character). 
So remember – growing as a writer isn’t a solitary experience. It involves sharing your work, knowing when to say “good-bye,” and when to move on to your next piece so that your creative spark doesn’t fizzle.

Welcome to Highland Editorial Services!

Although this site is not primarily a blog, I will post from time to time on subjects that relate to writing, grammar, language and literature, as those things fascinate me and I have very few people with whom to discuss them in real life. We can also use it to discuss topics of interest and I may even try to get back to a bit of fictional writing myself, should time allow!

As for now, I look forward to welcoming your projects and your custom at Highland Editorial Services, where we strive to perfect the Highlands, one word at a time.

Carrie 🙂