Elizabeth: All About Editing

I started reading a book recently that had a character whose name randomly changed from Benedict to Benjamin from page to page.  The hero was intermittently a Marques and a Viscount, with no relevant incident which would have caused the change.  Don’t get me started on the spelling and grammar.

I tossed the book (now I know why it was a freebie) and moved on to another, but it got me to thinking about the importance of editing before releasing a book out into the wild.  It seems a shame to spend time and energy crafting a story, just to have readers give up on it a few pages in due to grammatical errors, inconsistencies, uneven voice and the like.

In a perfect world, you’d write your story, make a revision pass, do a read-through to correct any errors, and be all ready to move on to the next story.  Reality, however, doesn’t work quite that way.  It can be incredibly difficult to clearly see errors in your own writing.  Your brain will fill in missing words, fail to notice incorrect punctuation, and even overlook story inconsistencies and plot fails.  I can (and have) made dozens of editing passes through things I have written and repeatedly found things that needed to be fixed that I’d overlooked previously.

Fortunately, there are professionals out there who are experts at seeing those things we tend to miss.  So let’s talk about the different types of editors your manuscript may encounter before it’s ready to take its place out in the world. Continue reading

Justine: When It’s Time to Leave Your Critique Group

red flagI’ve been involved in an informal critique group for just about 3 years now – the Eight Ladies – and another regular group (meaning we meet weekly) for just over a year. A few months ago, I joined a third critique group, but I just notified the members that I must withdraw from it.

There are many reasons to join a critique group, and also many reasons to leave one, but there are a few things that should be red flags. If any of the things listed below are happening in your critique group, perhaps it’s time to set sail and find another. Continue reading