8 Writing Mistakes Editors Absolutely Hate And How To Fix Them
Don’t just take us through the character’s story. Let the characters take us through their story.
Becoming a successful writer isn’t just about creating a unique story that others might enjoy. If it were that simple, we’d have an overabundance of successful writers out there. No, becoming a successful writer is about creating a great story and being able to work within a team (unless you’re self-publishing).
You see, while one must master the craft of writing to create notable work, there’s an unseen aspect to the writing game that most aspiring authors fail to see; “your” work will eventually become “our” work. At least if you’re planning to go through a traditional publishing house that is.
Enter, “the writing team.” When you finally get to the point where you have a completed manuscript and are shopping around for agents, (or publishers) you might be shocked to realize that your manuscript (your baby as it were) is not perfect. In fact, it’s probably very far from perfect.
Assuming your work is good enough to land a publisher, you’ll be hooked up with a team of people paid to make your book the best, and most profitable, it can be. This means you’ll have a cover design guy, marketing guy, and most importantly, an editor.
It’s the editors job to make sure your work is publishable. They must painstakingly go through your entire manuscript sentence by sentence, marking every single mistake or part in need of revision. This is very time-consuming and can lead to a lot of frustration; from the editor as well as the author.
While fixing the book is the editors job, you should know it’s not their job alone. They’re simply making the book better in the ways they see fit—but they’ll be sending all the editing notes back to you so you can make the changes they aren’t authorized to. This will lead to a lot a back and forth between the author and editor.
Since you’ll be dealing with the editor on a regular basis until the book is completed, you should work on building a healthy rapport with them. And yes, you two will disagree on certain issues; this is almost guaranteed. After all, it’s now their baby as well as yours. They want to see it do just as well as you, which means they may have their own visions for the book.
Ultimately, though, it’s still your story. You created it. You get final say about what stays and what goes. But you still need to make your editor happy. What’s the best way to do this? Well, we’re here to help you with that. Here are eight writing mistakes editors hate, and the ways you can fix them.
8. Learn How to F*cking Write
You know what’s inexcusable? Not using your damn spell-check. Yes, a few misspelled words or the wrong spelling of words will slip through the cracks sometimes. But there’s a difference between just missing something, and just being lazy.
First of all, you should never turn in unpolished work; that’s just unprofessional. Secondly, spelling errors are something anyone can fix. You have a spell-check, so how the hell do you miss so many egregious errors? To an editor, multiple spelling errors are infuriating.
Another part of basic writing mistakes editors hate fixing are grammar errors. It’s the author’s job to learn how to write. Which means if you’re writing a book, you should at least have a basic understanding of proper grammar. Don’t rely on the editor to fix all the things you should’ve learned not to do a long time ago.
While it’s true the craft of writing is something one never truly masters, you still should learn from past mistakes. If someone points out something you continually do wrong, work on it. There are only so many times an editor should have to point out that you keep writing “could of” instead of “could have.” And that number of times is exactly one. They tell you once, then it’s your job to fix it and not make the same mistake in the future.
For the most part, a good editor is one who focuses more on the story and its characters: they do this by making sure there are no plot holes, inconsistencies, or other errors that mess up the story. But they can’t do this properly when they are too busy fixing spelling and grammar errors.
And an editor can’t skip that step because leaving those mistakes would not only reflect badly on them, but also distract the reader from enjoying the book or the author’s vision. Or to put it simply, a poorly written book is a real bitch to edit. Put in the extra effort and help your poor editor out before turning in your work.