As you can see from the header and to the right, I am writing a science fiction series called Flight of the Kestrel. The first novel, Intruders, is being professionally edited. Why did I think my novel would be any different when it came to the first professional edit?
We all love our novels like babies, and think they can do no wrong. I have read so many stories about the volume of changes needed after the first edit, but I honestly thought mine was almost ready. I have been working on it for about ten years, after all, and then I completely rewrote it. Since then I've edited several times.
I just received my book file back from my editor, and had quite a shock. The manuscript is full of detailed corrections and suggestions, which I expected. I didn't expect what came in the overall critique. I'm not going to tell you what it said, I'm not that brave. Suffice it to say, I have a lot of work to do.
Now I've had time to think about it, I can see the problems highlighted are right. As an author you are too close to the work to see it objectively. My main problem is I have a habit of writing shorthand - even in my nonfiction pieces. I outline a point and expect the reader to understand what I mean, to fill in the gaps. Perhaps because I have lived with the story so long, I know what's happening in every scene, how it looks, what the characters are feeling. But I don't actually say!
The good news is that my editor liked the plot, most of the characters and the dialogue. So I'm encouraged to go on. Now I know what's wrong with it I'm excited to get to work on it. But it won't be coming out quite as quickly as I thought! BUT, when it does come out, it's going to be SO much better!
The lesson is clear: you can't edit your own work. Although it's expensive, a professional editor is worth every penny.