In a post I found on my Twitter feed, Kevin Hanrahan writes about working with an editor.
It seems to have been a good move for Kevin; he wrote: “For the next six weeks I spent every spare moment doing exactly what my editor recommended.” He also wrote : “I receive a lot of recommendations from folks about critique groups and beta readers. I certainly don’t discount their utility and would love to find a couple of trusted beta readers. However, I don’t see that as the best path to follow for me.”
To me, Kevin is saying that in order to get to the place he wanted with his writing, he needed an editor. I believe that at some time or another, anyone on the journey through the writing life comes to the realization: “I need an editor.”
But I’m a smorgasbord kind of guy: I like having a little bit of everything. In terms of writing and feedback, I like to have a writing group, a critique group and some Beta readers. I learn so much from them, and I know my current work-in-progress benefited from all the feedback.
But an editor: There is something about another person investing their talent and energy solely into a project. It’s as if the writer is on one side of a coin. What’s on the other side? An editor.
Kevin’s editor was able to bring into focus the things Kevin needed to do in order to make his story better.
I think it comes down to this: at different times in the creation of a story, a writer needs to gauge how the story is coming along. That’s where writing groups and beta readers come in. But at some point, an author just knows that the project will never go any further until an editor goes through the manuscript and, as Kevin wrote, ” As I read through the comments from his editorial report I felt as if I were reading a report from a surgeon who was dissecting my novel.” And at that moment, that’s what Kevin needed.
Life’s like that, isn’t it? You get so far in a journey, then there’s a setback here, a detour there, then you find a way to get back on track, and the journey becomes more fulfilling.
A good editor can help you with that.