Tag Archive | editing

The Pain of Creating a Beautiful “Child”

This morning I  signed the contract to publish “The Love Immigrants,” which is the fourth book in the Apple Pie and Strudel Girls series of novels about young women during World War II. It feels so good to know that another one of my works is making it to the book store stages. Furthermore, I’m really excited about this particular book getting published because it is one of my favorites–not to say that I didn’t like the others–but you know, there’s always one child who clicks with its mother more than the other children.

I use this mother/child analogy because we as writers,  give birth to our works. That’s why when others criticize what we’ve written, it’s so hard to take. It’s like someone saying, “Your kid is ugly!”  This is the one element that makes writing such a hard task. Not all readers like all things. And, let’s face it, no matter how famous or prolific you might be, it takes a while to be able to take constructive criticism. Serious writers have worked for YEARS to develop a skin thick enough to hear that their creation needs a “nose job.”

But really, nowadays most plastic surgery comes out Okay. But the success of the surgery has to do with the doctor’s skill and credentials. I’ll tell you one thing, if a  doctor is going to take a knife to my face, he’d better be the best in the business!  It’s the same with writing. Be sure whoever is criticizing your work is qualified to do so. You are in control. You have the power to accept or reject the comments. Be smart. Trust the person you have chosen to be your “doctor.” And finally, if you know your “written child” needs that “nose job” lop it off, make the corrections, heal from the experience, and face the world with a better looking baby.You”ll be glad you did.

Editing and Brain Tricks

This week I “finished” my fifth novel in the “Apple Pie and Strudel Girls” series. I put finished in quote marks because now it’s up to my editor, Heidi to take a whack at it. She always sees things that I don’t. As careful as I try to be, I miss things–like little words I left out, dangling modifiers, comma mishaps, and a host of other things. I’ve learned to just blame it on my brilliant brain which has a tendency to fill in the words that aren’t there. I remember when I was six and learning to read, my mother would always yell at me:  “Barbara Jean, read what’s on the page!” I guess I’ve never learned to do that.

Because my brain makes up for my mistakes in my mind, I’ve learned I need other people to read my work and give feedback, so I can revise. I’ve always known that to be true, but having to admit I still require help at this stage of the game is a little humbling.

The bottom line is this: It’s good for all serious writers and students to find a writing buddy–a person you can trust who will give you honest feedback. Even though writing is a solitary activity, we need each other to make our work the best it can be at that time in space. If you want to publish what you write, get an editor. They will see what your brain doesn’t.

Thank you, Heidi.