Updates and Edits

I thought I’d give you guys an update on how things stand with me at the moment and also, perhaps, ask for some advice while I’m at it.

I’ve just completed the 2nd round of edits on my collection and have now commenced Round 3. There are some stories that might need to go through the mill for a fourth time but generally I’m quite happy with most of them.

However I’ve been slightly perplexed of late, with regards to my next course of action. Initially my plan was to get my work professionally edited before shipping it off to various publishers. I was having an argument recently with someone (who I might add, is not a writer or works in publishing) about professional editing services. They insisted that if I self-edit my work, a professional was not needed. Now I know that this is not entirely incorrect. I’ve seen many books on the Net on how to self-edit your manuscript, so it is possible to do so successfully, without making a complete fool of yourself.

Over the past year however, I’ve become so accustomed to my stories, having worked on them so intimately I honestly feel that, even after 10 edits, I might have missed something whether small or significant. I would therefore like a fresh set of eyes to have a look at my work before it is subjected to the mercy of the scary publishers.  But what do you guys think? Have any of you employed the services of a professional editor? And how did you know which person to choose? Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated.

And before I sign off, I have the pleasure of informing you that I have started work on my novel. YAY! It really does feel good to be plotting/drafting again. After all these months of editing (bleeurgh!!), I’m in my happy place once more 🙂

NM 🙂

38 thoughts on “Updates and Edits

  1. It’s a good idea to put your manuscript in a drawer and forget about it for a couple of months at least. If you can do that, you will be surpised how you distance yourself from it and see it with fresh eyes. Obviously, you might not be able to do this but if you can it is truly worthwhile.

    • Nisha says:

      Because these are shorts, there were some stories that I hadn’t looked at in over a year! So for some of them this plan did sort of work but I still feel I might be missing things. Just today I saw a major discrepancy in one of my stories that I had initially considered ‘perfect’ and ready for submission! I think having a professional look through it would just give me peace of mind 🙂

      • Peace of mind is the best thing ever – I hate going over things. You have to do what you feel is right, so I think you should get a prof. edit. You will feel better about it yourself and that is what counts.

      • Nisha says:

        Thank you for your support, Michelle! 🙂

      • You’re welcome. It’s difficult deciding what to do, especially when folks who don’t write but mean well give advice. Unless you’re actually personally involved in the business it is very difficult to understand. Particularly at this point in time with writing and publishing – we read that we should do that or this and the sheer amount of contradictory advice is enough to blow our heads off. In the end, we simply have to listen to advice, weigh it up and then listen to that inner voice which will give us peace of mind.

      • Nisha says:

        You put it brilliantly Michelle, because thats exactly how I feel right now. I also forgot about the idea of getting myself an agent. There’s just so much to think about and consider right now, that I can finally understand why people say: that the real work begins AFTER the book is written. Stressful times, but I’m relying heavily on that inner voice of mine which has very rarely let me down. So wish me luck! 🙂

      • I think what you need to remember is just take it one step at a time because what happens is you finish the writing and it seems like there are millions of things to do. It’s almost as if there are dozens of bees flying around your head and you don’t know which one to bat off first. So don’t see this as the end of the journey, see it as the beginning. Also when the bees are buzzing at you asking should I get an agent?/ Should I not get an agent? Just remember that these are decisions which you can change your mind about anyway. All of the decisions which you make about the book are not like having your head chopped off – they can be reversed. In fact, until you are happy with it e.g. got over the should I get a prof. edit or not – you don’t even have to decide whether to approach an agent. Take one step at a time, or you will wear yourself out. Big hugs – give yourself a pat on the back for all the hard work you have put in.

      • Nisha says:

        Michelle, thank you once again! I needed to hear these words. And you’re right, things are not set in stone. I can change my mind if I want to. I’m currently taking things very easy and working on my novel quite a bit. ‘One day at a time’ has become a mantra for me over the past month or so, its helped to keep me sane, and I think its working 😉
        Big hugs and love to you xxxx

      • I’m glad you’re working on your novel. It’s good to put one project to one side and work on another. It just takes away that total importance of one project which sometimes means we can kill it. We write better when we are relaxed and happy. Remember, that’s how you deserve to be. Hugs and love M.

  2. DebE says:

    I haven’t used an editor, yet, but I do plan to. Now, if I decide to have a go at offering my manuscript to agents/publishers, I will probably go with a beta reader or two and my own editing, because the publishers have editors, too. But, if I decide to go it alone (very tempting at this stage), I will go to the professionals. The hours I have put into the story deserve to be honoured with a concerted effort to make it the best piece of writing I am capapble of at this point in time (or whenever I decide it is “finished”).
    If you plan to approach publishers, at least try the drawer plan mentioned by loony above.

    • Nisha says:

      I have considered that publishers have editors and God knows what they might consider changing if they accept my manuscript (I’ll cross that bridge when I get there! LOL!)!! For now though, I just want my work to be polished and error-free so it increases my chances of getting a nod.
      Thank you for your comment and good luck with your book too! 🙂

  3. I agree – in such cases as these, distance can be a great friend. By the sounds of how hard you’ve been working, perhaps a break would do you good – for editing purposes and for peace of mind!

    • Nisha says:

      Hey Louise! 🙂
      Like I said to Michelle above, I have done that to a couple of my stories but I think I just need peace of mind as this is the first book I’ver written. And I do want to increase my chances of finding a publisher. I know by the sounds of things, it seems I’ve been working very hard but truth betold, I have procrastinated a lot, LOL! The thought of taking time off makes me feel very guilty! 😛

  4. nelle says:

    Best wishes with both. IMO, your choice to find an editor is a wise one. I can’t afford such services, but if I could… as much as editing appeals to me, I’m still too close to the work.

    On the set it aside idea. I set it aside for three months last year, and after four hard edits since November, set it aside again for five weeks, a window now closing. It helps, lots. And there’s a boom, louder. Storm’s a comin’.

    • Nisha says:

      Nelle, if I had all the money in the world, I’d ship you off here right now so you can edit all my stuff. Imagine the progress I would make then! LOL, he he 😉

      And yes, I can hear that thunder too, very scary, like lightning’s about to strike me dead if my manuscript is crap and no publisher bites! Ha ha!
      Like I said, if I had to leave my manuscript aside for even a month, I would feel very guilty. What’s that saying? “there’s no rest for the wicked”? They should change that to, “there should be no rest for the lazy…” 😉

      • nelle says:

        Not that it relates to your post, but I love returning to a writing *with attitude*. Sometimes a character acquires a jaded, contrary, or cynical outlook.I did this with an earlier blogpost (In The Park) and had lots of fun with it.

      • Nisha says:

        I know what you mean. It’s amazing how just being in a different frame of mind can affect how you look at your work…

  5. Congrats on all of your awesome progress, Nisha! I had an editor go through my draft before sending it off, to make sure there were no type-os or other errors I’d missed. I think an extra set of expert eyes is important, for the first round especially. If you go that route, I suggest asking the person for referrals and a list of who they’ve worked with. Some editors offer to do a sample for a reduced fee—great idea, since editing can be super pricey. I know authors who’ve been burned, so if you need any referrals, lemme know. I know of a few great ones.

    • Nisha says:

      Thank you for that excellent advice August, and for your wonderful support! I truly appreciate it!
      Yes I have heard some horror stories about writers who’ve had their works butchered by editors, so I’ll definitely do some background checks on them first.

      I’m planning on searching for some editors here in SA first but if I have any problems I’l definitely pop you an email! Hugs xxx

  6. trixfred30 says:

    good luck with the novel!

  7. Congrats on the progress and impending new projects, Nisha! I agree with those who are encouraging you to have another set of eyes review your work. I’ve edited manuscripts for other writers and you’d be surprised what a writer can miss in their own work that jumps out to an editor. In addition to asking for references (and checking them), inquire about the editor’s credentials, too. Good luck!

    • Nisha says:

      Thanks Kelly! I never knew you were an editor too! I’m glad you agree then and thanks for the advice. I will definitely keep that in mind 🙂

  8. Martin Shone says:

    Are you a member of The Word Cloud (http://writing-community.writersworkshop.co.uk/), run by Writers’ Workshop. Debi Alper is running a self edit course here http://writing-community.writersworkshop.co.uk/members/profile/24 if you scroll down you’ll see the link. Although you will need to join the Cloud (free) and then follow the link and request to join the group.


  9. beckyday6 says:

    Wow, congratulations on your progress! Very proud of you pursuing what you really love. 🙂 I have to agree with all the other great answers on here. A fresh pair of eyes is always best, I think. I know just from blogging, I can read it through several times before publishing the post, and still miss something completely obvious! For instance several times I’ve put ‘cleaver’ instead of ‘clever’ LOL! I don’t use cleaver’s, honest! :S

    So…….. *takes a dramatic breath* when you become all famous and stuff because your books such a hugeeeeee hit with your fabby writing, can I have a signed copy? 😉

    • Nisha says:

      You know when you edit something for the third time and you still find beeeeg mistakes in them, it’s one of the most scariest feelings and inevitably leads to paranoia ’cause you wonder if there are other mistakes lurking elsewhere. So yes, can’t go wrong with a fresh pair of eyes having a look! 🙂
      And I believe you, I don’t see you as the cleaver-wielding sort! LOL!

      Awww, you know I can never thank you enough for all your support. Yes, you will definitely get a signed copy, guaranteed!

  10. jenniferneri says:

    Are you planning on self publishing your collection?

    • Nisha says:

      I have considered it but I would like to go the traditional route first…

      • jenniferneri says:

        I that case, IMHO, no professional editing needed prior to submitting.

        It’s not expected.

        But it is expected to be as good as you can make it.
        Have you received any feedback on it? Do you work with a critique group?

  11. mj monaghan says:

    Nisha, google “MyWana” – there are some great resources on Twitter and on Kristen Lamb’s blog for writers. Good luck with the editing, my friend.

  12. Barb says:

    I think your paranoia about editing is spot on, Nisha. Two different line editors went through my book and a missing word still slipped through (one that we know of, I hope there aren’t more.) I also entered a short story in a contest. It won and was published in an anthology. A friend was reading it and found a typo in my published story. I was shocked because I’d proofed that piece at least 4 times and before submitting it and when I brought the error to the attention of the publisher, I was told 2 editors had reviewed it. So errors slip through. I think if you continue to find errors with each read through, you might consider using an editor. I have a fellow writer friend who turns out clean copy by the second draft, but that’s not me. I do too much cutting and pasting to trust my work to be error free. Congratulations on your progress and good luck.

  13. I have the same problem with cutting and pasting as Barb. Even a simple edit leaves me with tons of typos!

    I recently sent my manuscript to an editor. This will be a line-by-line edit, and after I make all corrections, I will send it back for a final proofread. However, our situations are different, because I intend to self-publish. In your situation, I’m not sure how much I would want to invest in editing services.

    If it will ease your mind, and you can afford it, you could find an editor to proofread your work… or maybe sample-edit a portion of it, to see what they find. I originally had an edit on the first 5000 words of my MS. What my editor found was helpful enough to convince me to agree to the edits on the rest of my novel.

    • Nisha says:

      That sample edit sounds likes a good idea Laura, many people have suggested that I ask for one first. It will give me an idea of how much work my MS needs and how good the editors are.

      Thanks for your comment! 🙂

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