This morning, DH schlepped his dad up to Toledo to get Muffy shaved off. We're keeping our fingers crossed that there are no complications. NW Ohio is getting the full 80% chance of rain the weather forecasters promised. So it's a rather stressful, dreary day to start with.
And I'm sitting here, staring at my screen, and mulling over an innocent comment from last night's dinner.
I went with DH to a business function. The folks are sweet and laid back, and dinner was held at a hole-in-the-wall place that serves real Mexican food, not the over-spiced stuff most Americans think of as Mexican.
Invariably, someone at dinner asks me if I'm still writing. I take that one in stride. There's a great number of people in this town that dabble in the arts but still have their day jobs.
When I said, yes, but right now I'm concentrating on editing a couple of proof paperbacks, that took my listeners by surprise. One lady, eyes wide, asked, "You do your own editing?"
I didn't realize how deep one of Dean Wesley Smith's writing myths reached until that moment.
The following are my thoughts, and my thoughts alone, on the subject of editing. YMMV.
1) Developmental editing
Writers don't need this. If you can't grasp story structure from reading books and watching TV and movies, writing probably isn't the profession for you. (Hint: Wanna learn classic three-act structure? Go watch Star Wars.) To me, using a developmental editor is wanting someone to validate your talent by paying them an obscene sum of money.
2) Copy editing
This has to do with the consistency of the story and the possible research involved. Writers should be able to do this themselves. For example, is your heroine's eyes blue throughout your story? Which interstate runs through Las Vegas if your using that city as a setting? Seriously, you shouldn't need someone to babysit you through the basics.
3) Line Editing
Here's where grammar, spelling and punctuation come in, and dammit, if you're a writer, you should know the basics of your craft. In comparison, it's like a carpenter knowing whether to use a hammer or a screwdriver on a nail. I don't cut myself any slack in this area. I read a lot of U.K. English books, so I have a tendency to use the U.K. spelling for words. I always have to double-check!
This is the one area where hiring someone makes sense. And that's assuming you can find someone who does quality work. Notice I said QUALITY. Quality and price do not correlate. In fact, I've had better proofers who've asked for $25 Starbucks or Amazon gift cards as payment. And honestly, if the proofer misses something that you find later, do you really want to pay them thousands of dollars?
Are there exceptions to needing extra help? Of course, there are. But a writer with dyslexia still does not need a development editor! And yes, I know a couple of very talented writers who are dyslexic.
Now, I going to Starbucks for my peppermint mocha before I tackle some editing.
Angry Sheep signing off!
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