I did it. I sent my writing to an editor last month. Yes, even a professional editor needs another perspective. When we become too close to our own writing, it’s like we can’t see it anymore. A good editor can help us see it more clearly.
I had become so muddled in my manuscript that I wasn’t even able to describe what type of editing I was looking for. I knew what I wanted to ask for — just a quick style and copy edit — because I wanted to save money by doing the bigger work myself. I am a member of Editors Canada, an organization that helps connect writers with editors, and editors with employment. I browsed the member descriptions on the website and found an editor in my province whom I thought I might like to work with. I had plans to attend an event in Vancouver and I noticed that her name was on the list to also attend. Perfect.
We had a good chat at the event and she offered to do a sample edit for me, so I gathered up a few bits and sent them off to her in a hurry. That’s when the panic and embarrassment kicked in. I knew what I had sent her required way more than a style and copy edit. I wasn’t happy with the working title of my book and I had no handle on what the theme really was. So while I waited for her to start the sample, I worked and worked to produce something with a little more structure, and I was able to re-send my sample with a new book title and theme, along with an admission that the work still needed a substantive edit to help the stories fit together better. Having a potential editor do a sample edit is a great way for both parties to discover how the other person works.
This turned out to be a successful pairing, and I received her full report last week. I was thrilled with her stylistic edit suggestions, and she laid out a new structure that combined several of my smaller pieces in an efficient and effective way. I was still left with some big questions to ask myself about the structure of the theme and the naming of the individual chapters. I wrote the new outline on paper and Mark (my husband) gave me some big-picture feedback. I did some research and went back to Mark for more feedback. I have now restructured the chapters to better reflect the theme of the book.
I can hardly believe how much my manuscript has transformed in the process. But there is still work to do. With a new structure in place, it is necessary to re-write parts of many chapters. This will take place over the coming weeks and while it was a small struggle to be on this side of the table (as the writer) during the restructuring, I am looking forward to the next round of writing as well as re-naming the chapters.
In the meantime, we’ve contracted a designer to come up with some concepts for the front cover. I hope to be revealing the cover and the book title very soon, but I will also try to remain patient for the process to unfold. There are so many layers!