Editing Anyone? Guest Blog Post By Dawn Kirby


Editing Anyone?

Guest Blog Post By Paranormal Fiction Writer Dawn Kirby 

               As writers we pour our heart and soul into our work. Blood, sweat and tears go into every word. Emotions run high until the final scene comes to a close. We check and re-check for misspellings, missing words, punctuation. Gaps within the story are cleaned up. Chapters expanded on. Sentences restructured. It hurts when we have to cut a certain something, but we do it. Bringing our story to life in the best way possible is our ultimate goal.

            Now we’re ready to share it with beta readers, maybe even a few close friends and family. We ask for complete honesty on every point. Grammar, punctuation, the works. Thankfully they oblige. They go over the MS with a fine toothed comb and give us exactly what we’ve asked them for. Some comments are a little harder to take than others, but we know deep down it’s all leading up to something wonderful. 

            That in mind we return to our keyboards. Adding a little here, trimming a little there. We work ourselves into a frenzy at times just trying to make the world we’ve created in our minds flawless on paper. Long days turn into long nights. Days, weeks, possibly even months pass as we progress. Our original manuscript looks as though a shredder has had a go at it. Still we push forward. Nothing can stop us now.

            Another round of self-edits, another round of Betas. Still the story isn’t what we’ve hoped it to be. That’s not say it’s not good, it may very well be. It’s just…

            This is where I stalled with SECRETS. I wanted to submit to agents, but at the same time I didn’t want to submit what I knew could be better. What to do now? I’d read the manuscript so many times at that point the words ran together. Nothing jumped out at me as an issue anymore. My betas were busy with their own projects. Friends and family couldn’t stop living just to read the changes I seemed to be making on a daily basis. The answer came when a friend of mine referred me to a woman who would soon become my literary lifeline.

            Before I go on, I realize that there are some agents and publishers that look down on an unpublished writer having a professional editor go over their work. They wonder whether or not the writer has what it takes on his/her own to write a good story. Maybe they’re right to doubt. But in my opinion, the experience only makes a writer stronger. If a writer is willing to put that much work, time and effort into their manuscript before they manage to get representation, one can only imagine how hard they’d be willing to work after.

            Jessica Swift, @SwiftInkEditor, for those of you on Twitter, took me under her wing and educated me in more ways than I could’ve ever imagined. She read the first few pages, asked for more and then agreed to do a “first-run” edit on the entire MS. I was surprised at how excited and terrified I was about having an editor go over it. Excited because I knew the problems would be fixed; terrified because there was that possibility she’d hate it and advise me not to quit my day job.

            Luckily, she didn’t hate it. What Jessica did was point out the things my eyes, my betas missed. Some of it was simple. Some were huge. She asked questions. She made me think about my story on a whole new level. Not once did she offer to fix the mistakes herself. She was determined not to take my voice out of the story. Thanks to her work and input, I believe my story is stronger than it was before. I know there is still a ton of work to be done, but knowing I have her in my corner anytime I have a question, is a big weight off my shoulders. That alone is priceless.

           My point in all this? A writer has to do what feels right for them. Sometimes they need to pull their eyes off their work and let somebody else take it in. In some cases Betas may be all they need. For others, an editor may be the answer to their prayers. Writers can’t afford to let fear of what others may think, or doubt in their writing hold back their progress. The road to publication is bumpy enough, finding a good source of technical support is an important key to seeing that first draft become your first book.

            You can find paranormal fiction writer Dawn Kirby on Twitter, on her blog Inside Secrets and become a fan of her book on Facebook. Dawn is also the creator of #fbwriter page on Facebook, so don’t be shy join the group!

Thank you Dawn for kicking off my 100th blog post!



7 Comments Add yours

  1. Dawn, thanks for a great post. It is so true that often we must have a “third eye” look at our work in a way we can’t.

    You have the determination and drive to become a successful writer and I wish you the best 🙂

  2. Interesting post. I agree with what Dawn says about editing. I also engaged an editor to work on my first novel. I learned so much from his insights and questions and the book benefitted enormously from his forensic attention. Totally agree, we should do what’s right for us. All the best with all your writing, Dawn. And thanks to Lara for hosting.

  3. Great post Dawn.
    I am in the middle of working through my WIP with a professional editor… it’s hard work..

  4. Dawn Kirby says:

    First, I want to thank Lara for having me. It’s been both a pleasure and an honor. Second, I can’t tell you how good it is to see there are other writers who feel the same way. I love ramblingsfromtheleft’s comment about having a “third eye’. It’s so true. The more we look at our work the closer we get to it and it’s hard to see mistakes. Like Anne, my experience with Jessica has been completely positive. It’s amazing how much someone else can help make the story better without taking the writer’s voice out of it. Your right Michelle, editing is hard work, but when you find your groove, whether it’s with an editor or not, it takes the story to a whole new level. I wish you all the best of luck and I truly hope to see your books in my bookshelf one day.

    1. laradunning says:

      I myself have contemplated hiring an editor to review my work. In the fall I found a beta reader that was out of this world editing wise. The comments about structure and grammar really helped. He had also taken alot of editing classes, so he had a natural eye for this sort of detail. It’s amazing what you can learn when someone else takes a look at something you’ve been staring at for what feels like forever. I’m so glad and grateful I did it. I knew that something was missing and he pointed me in the right direction. Thanks for sharing your story Dawn and being my first guest blogger!

  5. Dawn Kirby says:

    It’s so nice when you find someone who completes you and you work. The experinece istelf can be so rewarding. As far as I’m concerned editors are one of the most important people in the publishing world. I’m so glad you found your perfect fit!
    Thank You Lara for having me. I am both humbled and honored to be featured alongside a brilliant writer such as yourself. How appropriate that this is a first for us both?

  6. Great post, Dawn. I am in need of beta readers right now. I will call on a few friends and let them review the novel while I work on my next book and a novella. It’s hard to let go and let readers look at your ms, but you’re right, after writing and rewriting your own work, the words begin to blur together and an objective set of eyes can be so helpful! I don’t need editing work, but I do need people to say what works in the story and what doesn’t. For people who aren’t writers, sometimes that’s a difficult task as they frequently go on gut instincts. They can say “I like this or I don’t like that, but I don’t know why.” That’s valuable feedback too.

    We shall see!

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