Sample Editorial Comments, Vol. 4

Here we are again, discussing my ineptitude. Again, the following comments are just from two chapters of the book, but give a good look into what helps me make my writing better.

I think there’s a missing word or two in the first sentence. Lee, since Micah sees Seth and not just an indentation in the foliage – a great image by the way – I’m not sure how to edit this. Since your narrator isn’t omniscient and mostly sticks to Micah’s point of view, I don’t think you can say, for example, that John reacted to seeing a dead limb spinning through the air, and instead would have to say something like Micah imagining the sight of a log twirling through the air towards the mine. So, should you say that the man was surprised by what must have been an indentation in the foliage, etc?
Also, I do like your second sentence here (“Micah wondered later….”); that’s a nice way of fitting in what Micah saw and what the rest would see with the benefit of hindsight.

I like the way the para reads – and the image it leaves us with – without this last sentence.

Can you do the sentence without the although? It seems to have more impact that way.

Lee, I really like the action here. I know I’ve mentioned I’m not particularly fond of “battle” scenes, but you, again, made this easy to read, easy to understand, without merely being technical.

Nicely done.

I would like my non-existent readers to pay close attention to the last comment. Aside from a few corrected typos, this was the only significant remark of the second of the two chapters in this set and it shows another key element to finding someone who will help you edit your work. The process is not about giving someone the opportunity to beat you up and tell you how awful your writing is. If you have a reader who does this, they do not need to read for you anymore. A writer’s ego is fragile enough from our own inner insecurities without adding someone else’s on top of them. A good reader should also tell you when you’re doing well. If anything, this is more important than helping you correct your errors because it is this, that occasional word of encouragement, that really keeps you going during the process. After all, you are editing because your work is not perfect and now, as these comments roll in from various sources, you really see how not perfect the whole thing is. The only way some of us can continue to write is because we have received support from outside ourselves telling us that it is worthwhile. No writer worth his or her salt can survive on ego alone.

So, editing continues and will continue for the foreseeable future. I’m hoping to have the whole thing done and ready to go in three or four weeks so I can start submitting to agents. My query letter is starting to come together as well and I’ve even written a few tentative words on the historical fiction novel, even though I’m not sure that what I’m going to throw myself into next.

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About Lee Smiley

I write things. Maybe you'll read them.
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