Got a free eBook code? Click HERE for instructions on how to download.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Letter From The Editor

As I work through edits on my next project ("Next project!?" you say.  Why yes. You know me, idle hands and all that) I'm thrilled to finally not fear the copy edit process. This last project actually had a notation in regards to his (my editor) fear of becoming obsolete. Of course, he was kidding, in part. I will always need and editor because two sets of eyes are better than one and I'm too close to be objective.

What he meant was, I'm not making the same mistakes I made with prior manuscripts. The things he told me not to do in the edits of the prior books, I have not repeated. Partially it's because I'm a perfectionist and once someone tells me of an error that I'm making, I work hard to correct it and never do it again. Another reason though is that to me the editing process is not just a means to an end, it's an opportunity to learn and improve my writing skills. If a writer goes slow enough, takes the editing notes to heart, and truly listens, they can improve just from the editing process alone.

To take it even further (because the perfectionist in me will not rest) I'm always on the lookout for opportunities to learn. Sometimes it's an excellent book on the craft of writing and sometimes it's a trusted mentor or teacher. The bottom line is, if you always strive to improve, you will. And eventually, there will be nothing standing in your way of success.

This year's (and every year, honestly) must read book on writing is The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White. 

How about you? What do you do to keep improving?

24 comments:

  1. Oh my, sooo many answers to that question, Heather! One of the funnest ways I like to improve my writing is to read, read, read (there's just never enough time for it all). Congrats on the progress!! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Linda! And that's a great point that I forgot to make! Reading is a good way to stay sharp.

      Delete
  2. Heather, this is perfect! We should always go towards perfection. That is what is making you the best! I have that book and will bring it with me. I keep mentioning it... perhaps it's time to read again. Keep up with that great attitude!!! Always learn and grow.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're so sweet, thank you! You know me, I'm all about learning. :)

      Delete
  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I think a lot has to do with what you said: Listening to feedback and incorporating it into the process. For me, during the drafting process I give myself free rein to commit whatever "mistakes" I want in order to get the words down on the page, but I have found that my drafts are becoming much cleaner as well (except I know in my current WIP I'll be on a search and destroy for THAT again.)

    Another thing I like to do to help me improve is read, but reading for more than enjoyment. I'll pick up a book I particularly liked and re-read it with an eye to the construction. Maybe the author made the characters jump off the page and I want my characters to do the same, so I'll look at phrasing, gestures, dialogue, setting, and deconstruct.

    And, believe it or not, I'll re-read a book I felt was not written as well as it could have been and determine what changes I would have made as the author to improve the work. Funnily enough, I have found the same errors in my own work, but was blind to them until I saw them in another's. It can be a rather humbling experience, but I learn from it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's brilliant! I'm taking notes here... ;)

      Delete
  5. Continuing to hone this craft of writing is vital. It's one of my favorite aspects of writing itself. I learn something new about myself, my world, and my skills each time I sit to write; even simply blogging. I'll see new strengths I've developed as well as areas I still need to improve on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mine too! And great point about learning each time we write. So long as we keep ourselves open, we'll always grow.

      Delete
  6. Read, read, read. The perfectionist inside of me is a cruel mistress. She never lets me rest either. So, I read everything I can get my hands on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL! I know the feeling too well. Great advice!

      Delete
  7. I'm always on the lookout for craft information, too, and opportunities to improve. I'm like you. I try not to make the same mistakes again. I can tell that my drafts are getting better--my critters are finding less to mark--but I still have room to grow.

    Even so, it's hard to keep all the plates spinning. I feel like when I focus on one aspect, I don't do my best regarding another.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm a believer that there is always room to grow. At least, I hope so, otherwise life would get boring. Good point about spinning plates, part of why I keep a notebook for pretty much everything.

      Delete
  8. Seeing the editor's notes as teaching tools and not attacks makes all the difference. And the others are right: reading is a great asset. I've seen that listening to audiobooks helps me in the flow of my own prose. Great post, Roland

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a great one Roland! I never thought of audio books like that.

      Delete
  9. You're inspiring me, Heather. I try to learn as I go from my mistakes. I've made a ton. I think I need to read that book too and I actually have it. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Excellent! I'm glad I could inspire you. :) It's a great book, I highly recommend it.

      Delete
  10. Hеy there would уou mind stating which blog
    platform you're working with? I'm planning to staгt my
    own blog іn the near future but I'm having a hard time choosing between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your layout seems different then most blogs and I'm looking for sоmething completelу unique.
    P.S Sοггy for getting off-topic but I hаd tο aѕk!


    my blog; prweb.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. None of the above, Blogger is the best I've found by far!

      Delete
  11. I also read and I solicit critiques of my manuscript. I'm part of a very supportive community of writers, who also recommend good books on craft like Writing Fiction by Janet Burroway, Elizabeth Stuckey-French, and Ned Stuckey-French.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Learning from your mistakes is usually the best way to learn in general. And I absolutely agree, there's ALWAYS room to grow and become better. One of the precepts of Shotokan karate is "to seek perfection of character". I believe this can be applied to any part of our lives, anything that we do. And it's fun to learn and grow!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I couldn't agree more! So much of the discipline of martial arts carries over into every aspect of life.

      Delete
  13. I also need to read some books on writing. I have a lot on my shelves, and read them thoroughly when I first started writing, but have fallen off lately.

    I always need a second pair of eyes on my writing. I read it the way it should read, not the way it does. Its good for me to hear what others think also. I doubt I'll ever be an expert on writing, too much to learn.

    ........dhole

    ReplyDelete

Comments are like good friends, the more the merrier!