EDITED TO ADD: This was supposed to publish 1/24, but I forgot the key “schedule post” step.
I was chatting with my PSM the other day, and she was flattering me hard by telling me how much better a writer I am now than when I wrote Cardinal Gate. (She also threatened to put icy hot in my thongs, but that’s kinda how we roll).
ANYWAY – I told her that the number one thing that’s made me a better writer is the editors I’ve had. I had a different editor for book 1 than for the last 3, but both editors have taught me some valuable fiction-writing skills.
It’s easy to say “show don’t tell” but unless someone is showing you where you’re doing it and showing you how to fix it instead of just telling you where/how, it’s not as easy to see.
Crutch words! OMG! So, I just can’t even communicate how I know that I pretty much suddenly throw these in everywhere. I think it’s a curse.
Repetitive phrasing – it’s so easy to tune out when you’ve started the last five sentences with a variation of “she was” or whatever.
Learning how to be conservative with words but still get my point across. When you have someone say: “This paragraph could be one sentence, have more clarity, and get your point across just (crutch word!) as well, if not better,” eventually you learn to see it yourself.
Reading for continuity. I realized this morning, two days after sending The Broken World to my editor, that I have a teeny (for real, not understatement) plot hole in it. Betcha $10 my editor catches it. (No pressure, Colleen!)
My editors have proven invaluable to my evolution as a writer. Every book I write is better because of them.
Because of them, I am also a better editor myself! And because I edit 2-3 novels a month, I’m a better writer as well. It’s a great cycle to be stuck in, honestly.
So – the point? A professional editor is, by far, the best thing you can do to make sure your book is good. (A professional cover artist is hella important as well, but I’d argue that editing is even more important.)
(Pssst…a new Raj chapter will be out this week! If you haven’t already, sign up for my newsletter! – check the sidebar!)