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First draft: professional editors? Getting tired?

(9 Posts)
FloatingObject Sun 13-Oct-19 09:31:17

Hello everyone, currently editing my first draft.

What are your thoughts on professional editors? Is it a rip off? Are they useful or is it work you could just do yourself? Any recommendations?

Also, is it normal to feel like you've run out of steam when it comes to editing? I'm sick to the back teeth of my story now. Ploughing on but I just want to send it off and make a start on my next book. Is this feeling "normal"?!

BillHadersNewWife Sun 13-Oct-19 09:56:11

I'm a writer and occasionally edit for unpublished writers. There are two types of editing you can pay for...a plain old edit and a developmental edit.

If you're feeling like your book is complete, then it probably is...or you've just grown tired of it.

Before paying someone you should give it to someone you trust to read. Someone who is well read.

The main thing to remember though, is that if your book has potential, a good agent or publishing house will look beyond typos and minor problems with character or plot. These are fixed in-house. You could present the most perfect manuscript but if it's shit, it's shit and they won't buy it.

FloatingObject Sun 13-Oct-19 10:06:57

Thank you Bill! I'm quite an anal writer, so this first draft isn't too messy. The main thing I'm having to do now is restructure chapters and flesh things out more. I feel like in my eagerness to show not tell, I haven't actually done enough telling if you see what I mean.

How much editing happens through the agent? I thought they were looking for a flawless MS that could go straight to print. Do agents get you to redraft/make structural changes etc?

My first chapter is now, as I see it, basically perfect. It does everything I want it to do. Would I be crazy to submit it and my synopsis before finishing the entire redraft, just as an extra push?

I'm not tired because I've worked on it too much, I'm tired because I'm lazy and enjoyed the whole first draft writing process, but find it annoying to have to carve this thing into a better experience for the reader grin

Margotsflounceyblouse Sun 13-Oct-19 10:09:13

I'd pay for a professional edit. Honestly it's so boring, and unless you are super hot on spelling and punctuation you will miss something.

Fiacla Sun 13-Oct-19 10:50:04

OP, I wouldn’t call what you’re doing now an ‘edit’ if you’re still restructuring chapters and fleshing things out — that to me sounds as if you’re still writing, really.

@BillHadersNewWife is right in that it’s important to know what you’re asking for when you hire a professional, too. I got a free ‘editorial read’ (it would have cost about £600) of a novel MS as a shortlisting prize in a competition once, years ago, and the result was a detailed report which considered structure, plot, characterisation etc.

Essentially it told me (quite rightly) that the structure was far too complicated for the plot, that one of the two narrators didn’t work, that even if it was based on real people, I was going to have to do something about two major characters being obnoxious and unappealing to the reader etc. (And this was a novel MS that had been thoroughly revised several times and got to the final five in a well-known competition.) It was basically a detailed list of what I should fix before sending it to agents.

Is this something you’re prepared to hear, or are you more looking for a copy-editor to fix typos/ SPAG? What do you want to do with the novel afterwards?

Fiacla Sun 13-Oct-19 10:54:02

Sorry, just noticed you say you want to send to agents. No, definitely finish the MS before you send it. It is technically possible an agent will get back to you within a day or two and want the full MS. You saying ‘Whoops, you’ll have to wait while I finish’ isn’t going to look good!

And I second the suggestion to have it read by an honest, reading friend who is well-read in your genre.

TrafalgarSquare Sun 13-Oct-19 14:18:03

Not only technically possible - it happens! happened to me. Oops

Witchend Sun 13-Oct-19 20:57:50

I've come to the conclusion that I really am not good at editing. I'm much better at just sitting down and writing.

I use Scribophile. I'm currently on the second time going through on there with critiques on my WIP.
This time I'm in a nice group of around 6 people who are reading through each others, and it's quite good because they pull you up for repeating an error, and also keep you editing.
If find writing so much more fun than the editing, and, especially with NaNoWriMo coming up, I need them to keep me going at it.

I am thinking that if I get it to a reasonable level after this round of critiques, I'll put it in for Beta reads, and then maybe see what a professional editor says. If they say it's rubbish, I'll go back to writing for me and the children. If they say there's potential, then maybe I'll try submitting it.

I do find for first level of editing (before I put it on Scribe) I read it out loud and that does really help picking up errors and where sentences don't quite work.

Any recommendations for professional editors (that aren't too ridiculously expensive!)

Poignet Mon 14-Oct-19 13:13:32

I got a heavily discounted editorial read from here via a competition:

literaryconsultancy.co.uk/editorial/manuscript-assessment/

but tbh, I would never have paid that kind of money if I hadn't had a big discount, even though the report was thorough, thoughtful and specific. (And, I think, basically right about my novel.) They charge a flat fee of £450 for a 60k MS, and £6 for every subsequent thousand words. (My MS was well over 100 k words.)

But you can also opt to do it more cheaply by sending an extract, or to send them your submission package so they can critique your synopsis and pitch letter etc. They also offer copy-editing, proof-reading etc. You can look at who their readers are on the website.

But, given the costs, for me, it's a thing to do -- if at all -- after you've exhausted all other avenues, until you've had feedback from a critique group, trusted friend who reads in your genre, and revised and polished multiple times yourself.

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