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Monday, May 25, 2015

Thoughts on editing: Guest Post by Andrew Joyce

 My name is Andrew Joyce, and I write books. I have no day job; my books sell well enough to keep body and soul together (barely). The same for my dog. I mean the royalties from my sales help keep his body and soul together also, not that he writes books. He only writes short stories, but hasn’t sold any as of yet.

When I’m in the editing process, I have two friends who read my stuff and they put a lot of effort into making suggestions and pointing out to me that I don’t know where to place commas and other punctuation errors that I continuously make. They also give me suggestions on how to better state a sentence or to eliminate one altogether. My point is that the more eyes that read my manuscript, the better. Because each set of eyes will see it from a different perspective and each will see things that the other has missed, myself included. Make no mistake about it. Writers cannot edit their own work.

Steinbeck, Baldacci, the greatest writers in the world all depend on editors. And you see it time and time again when the first person they thank in their books is their editor. It’s tempting to throw my stories out there right away. I want people to read my genius. However, now that I’m in my dotage, I’ve calmed down. I will not publish a book until I’ve read it through at least fifteen times, and my editors, at least half that number.

 On my last book, I worked on the editing an average of eight hours a day, seven days a week for four months straight. After I sent it off, one of my editors came back with another correction. I fired her on the spot! Just kidding, I don’t pay her anyway. And I always read the last draft myself before sending it off to my agent. Notice, I’m referring only to my books. My blog is still a mess because I HATE TO EDIT!

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