I started reading a mystery novel last night that I just had to put down. The back-cover blurb sounded like a great story, the book begins with the discovery of a body—all great ingredients for a mystery. But…
The author obviously did not have the book professionally edited.
Telling rather than showing, passive sentence construction (“there was…” “they were spoken of…” “members were directed…” etc.) and long, stilted, unnecessary dialogue bumped me right out of the story and I had no interest in finding out “who done it.”
It doesn’t matter whether you are submitting to a traditional publisher or publishing a book yourself—as an author, you owe it to yourself to have it professionally critiqued and edited. You want to put forth the best possible product you can and not be embarrassed by negative feedback.
This is something I, along with the other editor members of the Blood-Red Pencil, can do for other writers.
Here is a link to a great article “How to Measure the Value of Editors” by James Mathewson, Editor in Chief, ibm.com that talks about this very subject.
A native Montanan, Heidi Thomas now lives in Northwest Washington. Her first novel, Cowgirl Dreams, is based on her grandmother. Heidi has a degree in journalism, a certificate in fiction writing, and is a member of Northwest Independent Editors Guild. She teaches writing and edits, blogs, and is working on the next books in her “Dare to Dream” series. The sequel, Follow the Dream, will be released this year.