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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Trust your editor, Trust yourself

Here's something you probably didn't know about me: when I'm getting ready to send out a manuscript I've just finished editing, I freak out a little. A million things go through my head. What if they hate it? What if they ignore everything I marked? Worse . . . what if they change everything I marked?

It's true. I have a pretty high opinion of my opinion. But as an editor, I'm constantly telling clients "if it changes your meaning, your voice, your story, my opinion is wrong." Seriously. If you've done critiques, been critiqued, read up on how to write well you know the {rules}. Show don't tell, get rid of adverbs, pace the writing, start off with a hook . . . you get it. If you've read, you know that everyone breaks the rules.

The biggest rule is finding a balance. When a client gets a manuscript back from me they see a lot of red. Both literally and probably figuratively. That's because I take it upon myself to mark every thing I see, to question everything I question. The reasoning--not to cut my writers down, but to give them options. You might disagree with 99% of what I suggested and the one percent change might be minimal. And that's your call. Mignon Fogerty, a.k.a. Grammar Girl, said, ". . . learning to use your judgment is part of finding your voice and becoming a better writer."

So trust yourself. Seriously.

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About Me!

I've been writing since I was old enough to grasp a crayon--my grandma even has an early copy of a "book" I made her. I have a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Wyoming and will (hopefully) soon be starting a graduate program in English. When I'm not breaking up impromptu UFC fights in the living room or losing miserably to my boys at Uno, I'm ... well, writing or editing, of course! I'm married to my best friend, and we have three rambunctious but simply amazing little boys.


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