I used to love the Timehop app. Just by scrolling through it, I could remember forgotten trips, funny life moments, time with friends and family. Plus, it shows milestones in history, which feeds my curiosity for random information.
But then, it happened. Typos.
The bane of my grammar fetished existence. I pride myself in being above par with commas, prepositions, and sentence structure. In fact, I’ve earned one job from pointing out a typo on the company paperwork. I never text with acronyms, and I use punctuation. I know the difference between there, their, and they’re.
Yet the typos kept appearing.
Now, I can spot them with ease. Which begs the question: why couldn’t I then? The answer lies in distance.
These little imperfections we create shine brighter with the passage of time. When we create typos, we are often too close to see. It is like looking at a painting. When you are inches from the canvas you see something completely different than if you stand across the room. Time gives written work the across the room perspective.
Enter the Editors of the world.
Editors provide fresh eyes to see your work from another perspective. This goes beyond nuts and bolts grammar. They can see where your story is falling short. You may see brilliant swirls of color and texture, but they can see the giant chasm of disconnect that section has to the rest of the story. Their fresh perspective enhances your manuscript and highlights those things to which your eyes have grown accustomed. You know that old adage, “two are better than one?” It’s never more true than with editing your manuscript.
I highlight this because I’m flabbergasted by some work currently in print. Just because it has never been easier to publish, doesn’t mean writers should be the only one to touch their manuscript prior to publishing. I have nothing against those who choose the self publishing route. I have everything against those who do so without hiring an outside editor. Can’t afford it? At least put your manuscript in front of a writer’s group. No, your friends don’t count. They love you and don’t really want to hurt your feelings. You need a group of ruthless critics, who value the quality of the finished product above your own emotions. Because, in the end, good writing is what sells, not a writer’s good intentions.
No author is an island. The best works are those that have many hands in the pot. Don’t believe me? Read the acknowledgements. I’ve come to value the input of others in my work. Even the ones who are the harshest. Usually, their life experiences lend them to seeing new angles or problems. Often, their corrections lead me into an a more complex, rich, and beautiful story.
And they catch my typos, so I don’t have to cringe later.
Join the conversation. What is your opinion on editing and editors?