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View Poll Results: How do you edit your work?
I edit it all by myself with little/no outside input 11 44.00%
I have a friend/relative read it over 4 16.00%
I hire a freelance editor 4 16.00%
I'm in a writing group and we edit each others work 2 8.00%
Other, I do it a different way entirely 2 8.00%
My cat or dog do my editing 2 8.00%
Voters: 25. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 07-06-2010, 02:01 PM   #1
AnemicOak
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Self published authors, do you self edit?

Just curious, what are folks editorial processes? Do you hire an actual freelance editor or do you self edit? Is a friend/relative or writing group part of your editing process?

If you do things 100% yourself do you think an editor or some other method of editing would help your work? Do you think in the future as self publishing becomes more popular we'll see more professionally edited books?
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Old 07-06-2010, 05:16 PM   #2
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Depending on the draft is whether I'm self editing or not.

It usually follows that the second draft is self edited, while third is read by somebody else, with a polish for a fourth draft by myself.

I'd argue that the increase in popularity of self-edited ebooks will lead a decrease in editing standards...not an increase.
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Old 07-06-2010, 05:44 PM   #3
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Self edit all the way. Wouldn't have it any other way.

Every encounter I've had with an editor has made me want to turn my back on pacifism for good.

As to whether it would help my work, well, once someone else has stuck their oar in the water, the strokes are never quite the same. My name represents one hundred percent my effort, including all my mistakes and triumphs.

Editors, in my appraisal, are part of a system that should have died out already.
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Old 07-06-2010, 05:47 PM   #4
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Self edit all the way. Wouldn't have it any other way. Every encounter I've had with an editor has made me want to turn my back on pacifism for good. As to whether it would help my work, well, once someone else has stuck their oar in the water, the strokes are never quite the same. My name represents one hundred percent my effort, including all my mistakes and triumphs. Editors, in my appraisal, are part of a system that should have died out already.
Moejoe, could it be that you just haven't been lucky enough to meet the right editor yet?

I'm thinking of a Brian Clough/Peter Taylor analogy here, which I hope you'll understand.
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Old 07-06-2010, 05:54 PM   #5
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Editing is hard.

Self-editing is really hard.

Any form of editing requires a specific awareness of what's going on in the story, self editing adds the requirement that you be able to see what's actually on the page, not just what you intended to put there.

One issue with self-editing self-published works is that there are people who take that route because they don't have the patience to put that final edit and polish on a book. As more and more people with neither the skills, nor the inclination to learn them, start releasing books the quality is going to go down.

It's a pity, but I don't see any way around it.

It doesn't mean there aren't good self-editors or good books in the self-publishing/indie sector: It just means that as the sample size grows larger the outliers are going to move further and further in both directions.
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Old 07-06-2010, 05:55 PM   #6
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Moejoe, could it be that you just haven't been lucky enough to meet the right editor yet?

I'm thinking of a Brian Clough/Peter Taylor analogy here, which I hope you'll understand.
I get where you're coming from, and there's no doubt that some editors in the past have been formative in the careers of writers. But I just don't see how they're relevant, at least to me.

If my work is terrible, then it is terrible, I have nobody to blame but myself. That's the way I like it. These are my mistakes to make, my fictions to create, for good or bad. If I'm to fall down, then let it be because I made a wrong step. When I put my name onto a document, then it has to be one hundred percent representative of my effort and nobody else. Besides all that, the greater function of the modern editor is to prep for publication, to polish and to make saleable the work. As I don't intend to ever put a price tag on my writing, their main function is null for me.

Plus, everyone I've ever met was an absolute cock.
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Old 07-06-2010, 06:01 PM   #7
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Plus, everyone I've ever met was an absolute cock.
Fair enough, just asking. And I totally understand the desire to present your own work and your own work alone.

By the way, as a piece of free editing, please note that in your quote above, if you say "everyone", that implies that every single person you have ever met is an absolute cock. I think you meant "every one" (note the space), which makes the assertion relevant to just the subject of your previous sentences; editors.

See, editing can have a purpose - it can remind you how pedantic people can be
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Old 07-06-2010, 06:04 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Bilbo1967 View Post
Fair enough, just asking. And I totally understand the desire to present your own work and your own work alone.

By the way, as a piece of free editing, please note that in your quote above, if you say "everyone", that implies that every single person you have ever met is an absolute cock. I think you meant "every one" (note the space), which makes the assertion relevant to just the subject of your previous sentences; editors.

See, editing can have a purpose - it can remind you how pedantic people can be
LOL. See, this is why I should never ever write anything ever again. Plus, you're not a cock, so it's okay for you to do it. Some of them though...man, you'd want to take a cricket bat to their smug faces.

EDIT: And saying all that, my temperament would never allow me to work with an editor, whether they were doing me harm or good. I'm pretty much outside of the loop when it comes to writing these days. I don't want money or fame or an audience even. I maybe have another year of stories left in me, and a couple of standalone novels that I really have to write before I finally admit to myself that the whole thing bores me. So whatever opinions I hold, they're not really going to be helpful to anyone else.

Last edited by Moejoe; 07-06-2010 at 06:15 PM.
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Old 07-06-2010, 06:12 PM   #9
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LOL. See, this is why I should never ever write anything ever again. Plus, you're not a cock, so it's okay for you to do it. Some of them though...man, you'd want to take a cricket bat to their smug faces.
No, it was low of me to pick out a small error in a 30 second forum entry. I'm sure that an error like that wouldn't have got through your self-editing for a piece of published writing.

Keep up the good work; I'm still enjoying your books.
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Old 07-06-2010, 06:13 PM   #10
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My editing mostly consists of GrammarianX, Word spell check, and a light read through to see if what's on screen is what should be on the page.

I found a whole bunch of bees once in my writing. And then I killed the bees. And then I hung myself because I found that the longer I wrote on that particular day, the more passive the voice became. Don't even get me started on the repetition. One of my checkers red flagged the words "And then."

Think I used it 150 times in a 60,000 word mss.

I've passed it off to an alpha reader or three, but their observations were pretty much horseshit. "I don't understand what's happening here," said one reader, who turned out to be dyslexic. THAT didn't help.

I'd love a good editor by my side. Providing they can distinguish between "Voice" and "Grammar"

Like, I don't need someone to tell me that the narrative lacks because the speech is poor. Well, if my character's a drifting cowboy with no formal education, then it wouldn't be out of line for him his narration to read something like this:

Quote:
West, always west. Away from the oceans and them big cities. Cities was worse than these lands. But, nothing was worse than cities. Even the ones that didn’t get hurt bad. All them people can get to acting mighty crazy when there ain’t no food to be fed.
Would it make a scholar of proper english rip their hair out? Probably. But is it understandable? Does it make sense in the grand scheme of the narration?

Or would they rather it be this:

Quote:
West, he had to always walk west. If for no other reason than because it was far away from the oceans and cities. Everyone always said that cities were worse than these lands. But, it could also be said that nothing was worse than a city, even if they managed to escape the wars unscathed. It's always difficult to survive when there's a family and no food to be found.
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Old 07-06-2010, 06:18 PM   #11
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No, it was low of me to pick out a small error in a 30 second forum entry. I'm sure that an error like that wouldn't have got through your self-editing for a piece of published writing.

Keep up the good work; I'm still enjoying your books.
LOL. I wasn't offended at all. It was funny, at least I'm giggling here.
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Old 07-06-2010, 06:22 PM   #12
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LOL. I wasn't offended at all. It was funny, at least I'm giggling here.
Thanks MJ.
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Old 07-06-2010, 06:27 PM   #13
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My editing mostly consists of GrammarianX, Word spell check, and a light read through to see if what's on screen is what should be on the page.

I found a whole bunch of bees once in my writing. And then I killed the bees. And then I hung myself because I found that the longer I wrote on that particular day, the more passive the voice became. Don't even get me started on the repetition. One of my checkers red flagged the words "And then."

Think I used it 150 times in a 60,000 word mss.

I've passed it off to an alpha reader or three, but their observations were pretty much horseshit. "I don't understand what's happening here," said one reader, who turned out to be dyslexic. THAT didn't help.

I'd love a good editor by my side. Providing they can distinguish between "Voice" and "Grammar"

Like, I don't need someone to tell me that the narrative lacks because the speech is poor. Well, if my character's a drifting cowboy with no formal education, then it wouldn't be out of line for him his narration to read something like this:



Would it make a scholar of proper english rip their hair out? Probably. But is it understandable? Does it make sense in the grand scheme of the narration?

Or would they rather it be this:
You'll find a shitload of these editors are in their positions through luck or influence or even nepotism, not because they have any grasp of narrative or any passion for fiction. Same goes for literary agents, but they're lower than child molesters in my book, which is a very short and angry book.
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Old 07-06-2010, 06:34 PM   #14
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You'll find a shitload of these editors are in their positions through luck or influence or even nepotism, not because they have any grasp of narrative or any passion for fiction.
Gee, sounds an awful lot like public service or government employment
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Old 07-06-2010, 06:47 PM   #15
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My editing mostly consists of GrammarianX, Word spell check, and a light read through to see if what's on screen is what should be on the page. (... snip)
I can't speak for an academic scholar, but I can speak as a working editor of fiction, and I would have probably left the first passage alone. Depending on context I might have asked questions about it - and possibly asked it to be moved if I didn't think it fit with the rest of the paragraph - but it's a perfectly serviceable passage and illuminates the narrator's character well.

I don't worry as much about whether something is grammatically correct, as whether it sounds right, which doesn't always mean the same thing.

Other questions that come up are whether something drives either character, plot or both forward.

If it's pulling its weight in the story it should stay, if it's not it should either be recast or removed.

I also check for POV and tense issues - as well as active and passive voice - direct and indirect discourse - grounding details and a host of other things; and that's not even touching the structural level.

I try to help improve a story, not take off points for grammar.
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