Writing and Editing: Two Separate Processes

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A few days ago a client sent me the beginning of a set of short stories to review before he spent more energy continuing adding more short stories to the set for a book.  The voice was strong and clear, the action was intense, the dialogue told us about the characters and furthered the action.  After I read the prologue and first episode I called him to make some comments about the story.

We chatted about the premise and the story line.  He told me that his wife had read it.  He heard her chuckling and even laughing out loud.  But, when she talked to him later she told me there were many misspellings and punctuation errors.  He was devastated.  That was the real reason that he had sent me the unfinished manuscript before it was completed.

I reassured him that editing was a separate process.  Editing comes later.  Let me say it again:  editing comes later.  It is a separate process from building a story.  I suggested that when the entire manuscript is completed he can then edit it himself, give it to his wife, or hire an editor to correct spelling, punctuation and sentence structure.  I encouraged him to keep with the story process and finish the manuscript.

If you are terrific at spelling and your grammar is excellent, self-editing can be a trap when you are creating your story.  The first and main goal when creating your story is to make the story work.  Concentrate on the story line, the characters, the setting, the conflicts, and the resolutions.

Editing is a separate process.  Keep it that way.

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