Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Editing: Necessary or Not?

This past Monday, I was a guest on the Stories for Children radio show hosted by the World of Ink Network.

Although the main topic of the show was about children’s books, we went off onto a tangent about some of the differences between Indie writing and writing published by large publishing houses.

One difference that you will often see is a difference in editing.

Editing has clear goals. In my mind, editing is the process of:
  1. Eliminating any typos, grammar, and spelling issues.
  2. Directing the writer to place the ideas in a more organized fashion or suggesting other organizational changes
  3. Pairing down copy so that the idea can be presented in the fewest words possible, or at least, to clarify the point of the story.  

Some Indie books are amazingly good and are actually better than many of the books published by big-name publishers. I personally love The Woodlands series, and think it is better than Divergent, and possibly even The Hunger Games.

 But on the other hand, some Indie books are published with sloppy errors that make them challenging to read- possibly due to the lack of a qualified editor.

I have read numerous books with typos, spelling issues, convoluted plots, unnecessary content, and a host of other issues that you would not see in a book published by a larger publishing house (usually).

However, some of these slightly-awkward books had amazing and unique plots that I very much wanted to read about.

So, the question we were left with in the show, and what I have still yet to decide an answer for, is: Is it worth overlooking the editing issues if the story is good?

My initial instinct is to say no; simply because, a person who cares about their writing should be determined to present it in the best way possible. I suppose it is sort of like showing up at a business interview in a rumpled suit. The candidate may be qualified for the position, but a rumpled suit shows a lack of care that will probably convey to the interviewer a lack of care about the position.

But on the other hand, if the interviewer (or book publisher), selects someone (or a book) who looks better, that person could lack the substance of the first candidate.

So, in the end, I guess I believe that if a story is good, both the author and the publisher should be responsible for ensuring it is presented in the best light. What errors the author misses the publisher should address. After all, it is their name on the book, too!

What do you guys think?

Brenda is a fellow book-lover and coffee-addict. She is a freelance writer, punctuation nerd, and grammar enthusiast. Her favorite book genres are Science Fiction, Fantasy with a Twist, and Dystopian. Brenda blogs about books, writing and more at Daily Mayo. Find her here on CaW for Writing Tips Wednesdays the first Wednesday of every month.

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