Since the release of Sedition in December 2011 I’ve become quite acquainted with editors. Suffice to say, there are many different styles and personalities out there and while I’m happy to say I’ve never had a tremendously bad experience with any of them, my two most recent editors have to be the two I have enjoyed the most.
I’m not going to name the editor that my publisher hired for Dead Magic because I’m not certain that’s allowed. She is, however, one of the most challenging editors I’ve encountered. She uses a spreadsheet, which was a new one for me. Most of the editors I’ve dealt with go through Microsoft Word and track changes through there.
Her comments and questions have a lot to do with consistency — and for a book I wrote in chunks while going to school you can imagine there are several consistency errors. Even after two drafts on my own I hadn’t caught many of the issues that she is.
The second editor is a developmental editor I approached on my own. Since he did some of the editing for Tapped in his “open air editing” on Google+ I feel confident that he won’t mind if I give his name here. Gabriel Fitzpatrick went through Tapped very quickly and his notes were not only exactly what I needed to hear, but made me excited to get back into the draft again.
I specifically asked him for developmental critique, which is very different from what we might lovingly refer to as “Crazy Grammar People” who know exactly when you’ve used a preposition wrong or have hanging participles requiring your attention. (I’m sure Mr. Fitzpatrick is every bit as talented at being a grammar policeman and when I’ve finished implementing this first round of edits I’ll be shooting the manuscript back to him.)
But the point is that developmental editors focus on the story line in particular and how to make the book the best it can be. They ask questions. Lots of questions. And for me, those questions spur my creative muse into working order again.
Because after however long it’s taken me to get the first and second drafts done, I’m pretty stuck in a rut. I think; “Hey, this is the story. That’s all there is to it.” But the developmental editor pinpoints aspects of the story that not only should be explored, but will be awesome to flesh out. They find the hidden gems that the writer missed on the first pass.
So! They’re totally worth your time. If you’re an author, that is.