Monthly Archives: March 2014

Experiences with Two Editors

During the summer and fall of last year, I had a development editor that worked in the niche of fantasy review my first two stories. She said that I had a lot of interesting ideas, potential plots, and characters. She mentioned there was a great deal of potential in these two stories, but there was too much happening and too many characters that the two stories were unfocused and muddled. Characters appear and disappear throughout the story leaving the possibility that the readers could be confused. The plots needed to be tightened, and have definite beginning and ending for each of them.

She suggested that each story should have one novel-length plot, and possibly one or two-sub-plots that branch from the main plot. The sub-plot(s) needed to be connected and tied into the main plot. She said if I focused on one main plot per story, then I would develop the plot as well as deepen the plot. The important factor would be that the story would have less characters, but each of the characters would be more fleshed out and deepened.

At first, I did not understand why she was suggesting to have only one main plot for each story until I understood that the reader would be more likely to engage and be interested in the story from beginning to end.

The first story that she read had a word count of 115,000 words. I thought it would be the ideal length of a fantasy novel written by a first-time author.

She mentioned that if I focus one plot and less characters, the story might have a smaller word count than the original story. She mentioned it would take some time and effort revise the story, but the revised story would be better for it.

It took me some time to break down the original story, and I think that I will eventually have four or five stories. I have written the first draft of the first of the four or five stories, and its word count is a shade over 24,000. The second story has a word count of 53,000. I am working on the third story, as of the date of this blog entry, and the word count is a shade over 25,000. I hope to complete the first draft of the third story within the next couple of weeks.

The development editor sent me an email at the end of last year that she decided to suspend her editor business to focus on her own writing. I could understand why did that, but I really enjoyed working with her.

I was able to find another editor. In her email exchange with me, she was positive and timely in her responses. Her rates were also very reasonable.

I sent her the first revised story to edit. I did myself a disservice because I did not edit the story before I sent it to her. I think because I was not clear on the difference between development editing, content editing, and copy editing. She told me she could not complete the editing because the story was boring, and she refunded the second part of her fee.

I guess I can understand why she refunded the money, but I did not like it. It was clear after the fact that I thought I would get the same or similar type of editing with the second editor that I was from the first editor.

I have used the experiences with the two editors, and thought it would be best to continue writing the stories I want to read, revise and self-edit, revise some more, and then consider hiring an editor.

It is clear that if I want to have my stories published, I have to use an editor. An editor is responsible for making a good story better. An editor cannot make a boring story interesting.

Thanks for reading.

R.D. Henderson


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