I recently read some FB posts of a few author friends about their editing process. A very successful author made the comment she was on her twelfth edit and had found errors that her editors had missed.
Let me first say, I’m guilty of that as well. As an editor, I have to say the better the story, the more errors I miss. I have heard other’s say, “If (author’s name) just wouldn’t make the story so interesting, I could do my job better.”
It’s a sad fact. But also a testament to the writing of the authors we admire and problems we miss.
But it begs the question, am I doing my job to the best of my ability?
One story I completed a preliminary edit on was a fantasy story with angels and demons. The hero was a demon. His “job” was to influence humans to disrupt the lives of others. You see the demon wasn’t allowed to do so first-hand, but he could influence a human to cause an accident, minor or major.
That part of his personality was plausible until near the end where we find that the demon is actually part angel and demon. The hero’s belief that he didn’t have a choice to hurt humans was thrown out the window with this new information.
I finished the edit with a comment that in light of him being a hybrid he could fight his dominant urge to hurt humans. The author added, early on in the story, an incident that he had no influence over, and reprimanded the person for being unkind.
Was that the end of my edit? Was the new information the author added all that was needed?
I noticed errors in the second edit that I missed in the first round. I enjoyed the story well enough that I didn’t catch other things. Here, I’m talking about discrepancies in timing, a name change, etc.
I noted those and went on and believe at the time the preliminary edit was the best to my ability. I’m sure the senior editor continued to find things that both the author and I didn’t.
The nature of editing is never ending. As an author, as well as an editor, I’m constantly working on wording and sentence structure. I find at times I tell too much, omit important facts, and I have to keep notes in my timeline. I don’t always get it right, but that’s what my editor’s job is.
Don’t be upset the novel isn’t error free only if it’s minor grammar and spelling. That just means you’ve hooked us editors and in turn the rest of your audience.