Thursday, 20 December 2012

Tips, Tricks and Tales – Lesson 1

Editing your Story: Why is it necessary to edit?

As with many other people in this world, English is not my native language, and yet I still prefer it as the language to write my stories in. Does this excuse any mistakes that I would make as a result? Never. And there are a few reasons for that, but the most important would be respect for my readers.
If I don’t make the effort to ensure my manuscripts are as correct they could possibly be, I would be insulting my readers if I delivered sloppy work and then expected them to pay for it.
Let me tell you the reason I decided to write this series of blog posts. When I decided to self-publish my first novel, Géra’s Gift, I was pleased that the publisher offered copy-editing services as part of the package that I purchased from them.
I was, however, really chuffed when they didn’t find many mistakes in the manuscript. After a re-check, I found two more and then it was published with all the corrections. Of course, I am under no illusion that it was perfect, as pointed out by a friend who found three more grammar errors after it was published. Still, three mistakes in a book of ninety odd thousand words can probably be forgiven. They were not glaring mistakes either, so I wasn’t worried.
When the short story, Hunger, was done, I decided to do my own editing, given the track record I had with Géra’s Gift. After it was published, a friend who is also an editor, pointed out some mistakes to me, and brought my arrogant self down a notch or two or three. Five errors in a 7500 word story is not the kind of quality I was striving for. Although these were minor, I was not happy since it seemed that I was getting worse not better.
So lesson learned, I asked several friends and acquaintances, all of them writers, to proofread Perfection for me. And boy, am I glad I did. Upon reading their comments, I decided that there had to be more to this editing business, and I was right.
Stick around as I share with you the tips and tricks that I find, and try them out as I do my final editing on Keeper of the Dragon Sword.