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Professional Editors?

Got a question/comment about the business of writing or about the publishing industry? Here's your place to post it!
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Divia
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Post by Divia » Wed October 22nd, 2008, 11:08 am

See my biggest problem is commas. I dont know how to use them properly. I think I do, and I've read and read and read abuot em but I still dont get it. There are a few rules that I do properly and thats one thing I want to fix.
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Christine Blevins
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Post by Christine Blevins » Wed October 22nd, 2008, 1:25 pm

If commas are your main worry, then definitely don't worry,and don't waste money on professional editor services.

Literary agents are looking for well written, marketable manuscripts, and they can see beyond the errant comma and other minor imperfections. You still need to get your work in the best possible shape before you begin to query, but story and quality writing trump commas and such. A good agent will vet your manuscript for before submitting to editors.

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Rowan
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Interest in HF: I love history, but it's boring in school. Historical fiction brings it alive for me.
Preferred HF: Iron-Age Britain, Roman Britain, Medieval Britain
Location: New Orleans
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Post by Rowan » Wed October 22nd, 2008, 1:43 pm

Geez now after reading all of your responses, I feel like Enemy #1. You've lumped all editors into one pile, which really isn't fair.

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Christine Blevins
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Post by Christine Blevins » Wed October 22nd, 2008, 5:53 pm

Oh no, Rowan!

I didn't mean to imply that editors do not perform valuable service. They absolutely do. My literary agent is an ex-editor, and I LOVE Jackie Cantor, my editor at Berkley, and my precise and persnickety copy editor - all of them have only helped to make my book better. Editors are a writer's #1 FRIEND.

But I do believe that at this stage of the game for Divia - getting her manuscript ready to query literary agents - she has other avenues she can pursue i.e. critique groups and developing self-editing skills, before she should feel obligated to spend a lot of $ out of pocket.

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Rowan
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Interest in HF: I love history, but it's boring in school. Historical fiction brings it alive for me.
Preferred HF: Iron-Age Britain, Roman Britain, Medieval Britain
Location: New Orleans
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Post by Rowan » Wed October 22nd, 2008, 6:29 pm

Well, it depends on the type of editing someone wants. I would only ever recommend paying for a developmental type edit if someone's going to self-publish as I think more often than not self-publishing has opened the door to anyone who thinks pecking out words on a screen is considered writing. A developmental edit is where the real meat of the story is worked and re-worked until it comes out perfect.

Copy editing - which is basically what is being asked about - is not tremendously expensive. Certainly not thousands of dollars, but more like a few hundred, if that.

But in the end it is better to learn what you can about self-editing. As an editor I can say it makes a huge difference when an author I've worked with over several manuscripts has really learned anything or if they just do what I recommend and don't really care to learn.

Since Divia said a critique group might be difficult to come by where she lives, I would seek out a class or two wherever she took her ghost class. Here there are casual classes that offered by the parish which cover a wide variety of subjects. Perhaps something like that is available about writing or editing there.

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Divia
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Post by Divia » Wed October 22nd, 2008, 8:52 pm

Thanks again everyone for their answers. It has been really really helpful! :)
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cw gortner
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Post by cw gortner » Wed October 22nd, 2008, 9:09 pm

[quote=""Christine Blevins""]Oh no, Rowan!

I didn't mean to imply that editors do not perform valuable service. Editors are a writer's #1 FRIEND.[/quote]

I agree! Sorry, Rowan, if I even implied otherwise. I employed a marvelous freelance editor and she was terrific, both for developmental issues as well as the "errant comma."

I still think, however, that it's preferable to consult a professional after you've done everything possible to make your ms. the very best it can be. The editor then has your best work in hand, and can help you strive toward the next stage. Editors are invaluable; I've improved as a writer because of my editors. It's just a matter of when is the most appropriate time to employ one.

Divia, commas and semi-colons are my bane, too. I use too many of both and often confuse which goes where. Don't fret over that. A comma is very easy to delete or insert; it's the characters and story that count.
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Divia
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Post by Divia » Wed October 22nd, 2008, 9:23 pm

Thanks CW. :) I'm glad I'm not the only one who is fighting that terrible enemy!
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xiaotien
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Post by xiaotien » Wed October 22nd, 2008, 9:27 pm

[quote=""cw gortner""]

Divia, commas and semi-colons are my bane, too. [/quote]

semi-colons...they're near the large
intestines, right?

:D

the only time i use them is when
word sticks them in for me. =)
my editor had me put in ONE semi-colon.
weeeee!
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EC2
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Post by EC2 » Wed October 22nd, 2008, 9:49 pm

[quote=""Divia""]See my biggest problem is commas. I dont know how to use them properly. I think I do, and I've read and read and read abuot em but I still dont get it. There are a few rules that I do properly and thats one thing I want to fix.[/quote]

Divia, I don't 'do' commas either. It doesn't matter how much I read about them and how much I'm told, it still doesn't stick. Or else it sticks for a day and I wake up in the morning and I'm back to the default of cluelessness. Don't worry about it. Get on, write your story and get it finished and then if you feel it needs a look at for such as commas, get a proof reader or freelance copy editor to give it the once over. I didn't before I handed in my accepted novel, I admit, and they took it from the slushpile anyway. I'm working on my 19th now and I still don't do commas :o :confused:
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