I have one manuscript with a professional editor. A second is not far off the same stage, although they are completely different.
- One is a Women’s Fiction. Written in the first person. It’s a fast read of around 84 thousand words and keeps you very close to the narrator.
- One is a pure old-fashioned no sex Romance. The type you see in traditional Mills and Boons, but with a more modern setting. I suspect I will try Mills and Boon with this one as I’ve got nothing to lose by giving it a go. It’s told in the third person with differing points of view. Believe me when I say that it has been much easier to write than the first person story.
Why did I pick a Romance to write alongside the Women’s Fiction? I have no idea. I found it quite easy to draft. Perhaps it’s being married to a very unromantic man. Perhaps I should leave a manuscript or two lying around to give him a hint, but since he’s not a reader, I think I’d be wasting my time.
The difficulty comes when we finish our drafts. I thought getting to the end of a first draft would be the hardest part. Now I know that finishing the 80+k words, which happened several months ago for the Women’s Fiction, was just the beginning.
I’ve chosen an experienced editor, recommended by a long-term Twitter friend. I could have sent her the manuscript I found easy to write, but I wouldn’t learn so much from that. I’ve chosen to send the one I pulled my hair out over as I love the story, but found the telling quite difficult. If I do self-publish in the long-term, I want the book to read the best that it can.
This blog has allowed me the fabulous opportunity of using money it has raised to buy professional editing. I know it won’t make my manuscript good if it’s total rubbish, but if we don’t keep going, what’s the point of any novel-writing at all? It’s all a process of learning. Another Twitter friend read a little and gave me two cracking observations that I fully agreed with. If she can do that, what can an editor do as a guide for me?
The manuscript is with my editor now. I’m anxiously biting my nails, waiting to find out what the report says. I’ll make sure I have a massive bar of Dairy Milk on hand when I read it, in case of total devastation. There are a couple of areas that I have thought of while it’s been with her, ie possibly not enough past life emotional conflict with the male protagonist, or dialogue that might be a bit useless, but hey ho, it’s all about learning the craft.
An editor isn’t a proof-reader (typos) or a copy-editor (sentence structure, formatting etc).
A professional editor gives us their opinion, or what is known as a critique on the actual content of my writing, with the ultimate goal of polishing the manuscript until it shines.
Choosing an experienced novelist as an editor was an easy choice. The options were to attend a creative writing course, or have a professional critique on my actual work. Right at this very moment, she will be picking apart my work and all the feedback will be areas for improvement going forward.
I see it as an investment in my future learning and career, as I have no intention of stopping now that I have got going. Ideas and possibilities are now jumping out of my brain many times a day. I keep writing notes for potential stories or twists, quickly writing them down so I don’t forget them, then have to go round gathering them up to pin on my cork board. I also have drafts on pen drives that I can now see a use for, but will require heavy editing to be of any future use.
I’m prepared for total devastation when I read the report. I also know that if it does come to that, I’ll be a better writer for working through those issues.
In the meantime, I’ll keep biting my nails!!!