It wasn’t until The Living Stone that I appreciated the input of an editor. Well, I don’t know if I truly appreciated it, but I saw the value.
Over the summer, I am having my son and daughter, 8 and 6 respectively, read and journal for couple hours each morning. Pretty simple stuff, but since my background is in education, it annoys the crapola outta me that these kids can’t spell and spelling doesn’t seem to be the focus it was at one point.
My son especially doesn’t like it. He’s creative like me, and as many say when they see Micah, they say, “Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” Pretty true. He even has a temperament like mine. He hates being corrected.
So when he’s done with his journaling, I take a red pen and mark it up. The ideas are there, then he should go back and fix it so it is grammatically correct. Again, he does not like being made to do it over again.
But this has had a couple peculiar effects, both which I can relate to. First, he makes fewer mistakes at the outset. Second, he corrects himself before I see it. Not always perfect, but way better than before.
Having two of my novels edited has had a similar effect on my writing. The current book I am working on, The Blades of War, has benefitted from those two experiences. No, I don’t like seeing that I made a mistake and need to work to make it better. No, I don’t like being told, “that’s not good enough,” especially when I thought it was, by God. But as I’m revising Blades of War, I see that I made less mistakes on the front end. It is more complete to begin with. And now with my first revision, I’m seeing better how to correct it even before I send it to an editor.
Because I’m still not perfect, those extra pair of eyes is invaluable. But there will be less work for her to do this time around, which she’ll be glad of, I think.
Get an editor. Even if you have to pay for one. Get a cheap one that has some experience. I can recommend at least one that is great for a decent price. Ask around on FB or your friends to see if they know anyone who will do it and how much they will charge. Pay for it, actually. Best money you’ll spend if it a) takes your book to the next level and b) improves every book after that.