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zx1ninja

Critique struggle.

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1 hour ago, robg213 said:

Now, with all of those options available, I think few complaints are warranted. I make no excuse for bad editors. They are out there. But remember, editors have to prove their worth as well.

Unfortunately, (or fortunately, depending on how it turns out), the same problem has happened with editors that has happened with writers. Needle in an ocean. Lots of people putting out their shingles as "Editor," and lots of newbies thinking, "Well, they say they are, so they must be."

 

I joined a writing site for the first time eight years ago. The deal was/is critique X number of words for the privilege of posting your piece to be crit. So, I jumped in and the first thing I read was a complete mess, but the kind of mess I could figure out what went wrong. 

 

The writer was thrilled with my crit, however, she was also frustrated because she paid "an editor" to help her make it tht good. Within a month, I figured out who that "editor" was. She was using the site to get more work, so kept answering questions like she understood everything. I asked a question specific to MG writing and she answered it -- completely wrong.

 

And that's the moment I learned when the time came for an editor, I was most definitely finding one with good reference and checking out those references.

 

There are bad writers and bad editors. Up to us to find the good ones. (Not saying you're bad. Just saying there are many, many bad ones out there.)

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47 minutes ago, zx1ninja said:

I was surprised by, and struggle with the fact there's more than I thought there would be. I  missed the mark pretty bad. 

Perspective. Whenever you put a chapter up on a site to be critiqued, everyone will give you critiques from stuff they know alone, and hope others will handle the stuff they don't know.

 

When you send it into an editor, the editor shouldn't have stuff he/she doesn't know. They wouldn't be an editor if they couldn't do everything from basic SPAG to tension to all the rest of that very long list. So they don't catch some stuff. They catch all stuff.

 

It's always going to be a much bigger list.

 

Something like getting seven crits plus extras all jammed into one.

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17 hours ago, zx1ninja said:

Just curious. Does anyone know how many writers, well known and not so well known, struggle with what the editor tells them in a critique even if they realize the editor is right?

All of them.

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A follow up if you're interested.

 

I did cut some things, but not everything suggested. I condensed more than cut for the most part trying to keep the essence of what was there and took the suggestion to add some content to add plot/character. Hopefully it will meet with approval. Time will tell. 

 

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On 10/28/2019 at 6:50 PM, robg213 said:

All writers have different strengths and weaknesses. All writers have certain problems they need to be aware of so they can write better.

 

This is true.  A good editor/reader will point out both the writer's strengths and weaknesses.  They will offer some recommendations as to how the weaknesses camebe turned around.

 

Bad editors just point out the weaknesses (in my experience).  Not only is this unhelpful because it can demoralise the writer but equally the good critique elements get lost in the volume of negativity.

 

From the writer's POV - as has been stated earlier in this thread - the writer needs to remember that it is the work and not them being critiqued. Not always easy to do but essential.

 

 

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It's fine to have someone you know and trust read your work prior to publication, like a family member. However, their input will be based on whatever knowledge they have. Sure, it will be honest but not professional level.

 

Every writer looking for a professional editor needs to do a reference check. Who do they work for? If independent, can they provide a list of satisfied customers? Before the internet, every single person or company we worked with had to be checked out. There is no quick, easy way. And yes, there are crooks out there who will take your money and change email addresses. So, you have no physical address or phone number, now what?

 

Crooks like the internet. They can be halfway around the world and take your money.

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5 minutes ago, robg213 said:

Sure, it will be honest but not professional level.

That's a questionable belief. Friends and relatives don't have the knowledge, usually. And they don't want to hurt your feelings. I know this from personal experience. Does that mean it's always like that. I'd be a fool to say absolutely yes.

 

9 minutes ago, robg213 said:

Every writer looking for a professional editor needs to do a reference check. Who do they work for? If independent, can they provide a list of satisfied customers?

I did all that. Had several reviews. Even got a sample edit and several conversations. Got a signed contract. Nothing is perfect but it looks like I did something right.

 

12 minutes ago, robg213 said:

Crooks like the internet. They can be halfway around the world and take your money.

Or next door.

 

Good insight and suggestions @robg213

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Well, thought you might like an update.

 

After going through the book with their comments in mind, I have made a lot of changes. While I didn't remove everything they suggested, I did condense quite a bit. I also tightened up a lot of loose ends, liven up a character or two, expand some information and such.

 

At one point it lost about two thousand words, but now it's about fifteen hundred words over the original submission. As I go through this the third time, even I would have to agree that it reads better now after making some of the suggested changes,

 

I suppose what I'm trying to say is even though it hurts your ego, a good editor is only trying to help you and your book. And you have to read the comments with that in mind. Did I agree with everything, NO. But I kept that in mind and I think the book, and me are better for it. So put on the grown up clothes and grit your teeth.

 

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On 10/28/2019 at 2:20 PM, zx1ninja said:

I was surprised by, and struggle with the fact there's more than I thought there would be. I  missed the mark pretty bad. 

I so resonate with this. Back in 2011, when I was taking a course in children's writing and had paid a year's worth of my expendable income for the privilege, I still had to screw up my courage and be in a healthy place before I could face the letters I got back from my instructor.

Now when I edit for others, I warn them to be well rested, get something warm to drink, and get a hug from someone who loves them before opening my notes. And I'm always amazed when my authors are grateful for the way I flay their babies (even though I know how badly they need the help).

I don't know that it's ever possible to completely separate ourselves from our words because they *must* come from our heart to be worth writing. And it *is* a critique of our skill and awareness. Of course, when I read over my own first drafts I always have a lot of the same kind of work to do, the difference is I can then switch into my editor's brain and polish it before anyone finds out how messy my creative side is. :D
BTW I can't imagine having to go through the agony of watching a performance tape like athletes have to. But I bet they could take the kind of feedback an editor gives well after they get used to the process of growth.

 

 

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That's what good editors do. It is a kind of on the job training regarding something you made. And creativity is usually messy. You are painting a picture with words. Sometimes, the best words are not used, or things are out of sequence or a different approach will help make the story "flow" better.

 

My primary job is editor but I am also asked to write. Now most beginning writers make the same mistakes and I see the same mistakes over and over in the manuscripts I've read over the years. So I can see both sides and what we each go through to get better as editors and writers.

 

Sometimes, several small corrections add a lot to the story in terms of readability, other times certain parts need to be heavily rewritten. It's like writing a TV show or movie. As you write more and learn how to fix more and more problem areas that are particular to the way you write before handing in the final draft, you will gain confidence and greater skill.

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I appreciate all of you who are willing to share your journeys.  I finished writing my book this spring and sent it to an editor.  It was clearly outsourced to someone who did not have a handle on the English language.  The edit came back with changes that completely altered my story, names were given to people in my story and judgment statements were also added at the end of sentences.  I had no idea what to expect since it was my first book, but I knew that this was not acceptable.  

 

When I wrote my book it came from the heart and I knew it would need a good edit so I continued to search for an editor that would be a fit for me.  I found another editor and I just received the edit back from this second editor last week.  While I know this one is a good edit, I also know it is hard to see all of the changes that need to be made.

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