It’s ironic that I’ve just mailed my recent manuscript for Light Riders and the Fleur-de-lis Murder to my first line of defense – four quality editors who will scrutinize everything from tone, logistics, movement, and flow, to grammar and punctuation, while I’m in the process myself of editing a novel that was written by another author. Mind you, my novel will be forwarded to two more editors for a second look. Finally, it will be returned to two of the four front line editors for their “eagle eye” perusal before I send it off to formatting. That is, of course, once I’ve dealt with all the revisions and edits.
So why is it, I can edit someone else’s work with clarity, focus and skill, while I cannot say the same about editing my own writing? I’ve seen the comments by my editors and I cringe. Absolutely cringe. Homonyms! It’s as if I’ve never heard of them. Chute for shoot? What is going on in my brain? And single word repetitions…the the chair. Really? Not to mention quotation marks. It’s as if there’s no start or finish to the dialogue.
I can spot improper tenses like an owl going after a field mouse – but only if the mouse is in someone else’s field. Why can’t I see it in my own writing? Having given this quite a bit of thought, I’ve come to the following conclusion:
My brain registers what it believes I’ve written, not what appears on paper. So, when I re-read portions of my manuscript, I’m reading them the way in which I intended to write them, not the way in which my fingers actually moved across the keyboard.
This being the case, I would strongly urge all writers to find exemplary editors. I read somewhere that J.K.Rowling had over 26 editors for her last Harry Potter novel. Not too shabby for someone whose has certainly developed her craft.
I’ve come to respect the fact that my editorial scrutiny only applies to other people’s work; and I am thankful and grateful to have someone else give my manuscripts the close examination that my eyes simply cannot do!