As you will know by now Eric has recently had his first novel, A Clear Solution published by Accent Press. We at the West Lothian Writers Website thought this would be a great opportunity to hear from Eric about the experience of being professional edited, something that many unpublished writers worry about. After the break we’ll hand over to Eric to hear his thoughts. We hope you find them as interesting as we do.
My Experience of Being Professional Edited
The publication of A Clear Solution was the first time any of my work had been ‘professionally’ edited. The process wasn’t at all scary but was eye-opening so I thought it might be of interest to share a before and after from Chapter Ten of my book. You can download the whole of Chapter Ten, including both before and after here.
What a Professional Editor Looks for
There are several types of editing changes.
- Structural – thankfully there was very little of this so no major changes to the story.
- House style – each publisher will have their own stylistic quirks which they will enforce over their publications. An example here is the use of ellipses “…” I had always used it without a leading blank… which is not incorrect as far as I know but Accent Press use with a leading blank …
- Continuity – a characters hair colour changes half way through. None of this as far as I remember but I had been through the novel a dozen times myself dealing with it.
- Improvements to the text – suggestions for using a different word or description or missing something out entirely. There was lots of this.
- Grammatical errors – there were some, but not too many, thankfully.
The whole process did convince me of the truth of something I’ve read many times, that without a professional edit it’s almost impossible for an author to reach commercial publication standard. But remember that does not mean that your work won’t be accepted by a publisher. After all that’s why publishers employ editors.