In Praise of Editors

Someone once said that a novel is a continuous prose narrative with mistakes. Or at least, I think they did; I can’t find an attribution of the quote anywhere. It’s the editor’s job to find and fix as many of those mistakes as is humanly possible, for it’s never possible to find them all.

In the case of my Earthdawn novel, Anarya’s Secret (see the cover), the novel was written by me in New Zealand for a New Zealand company, edited by a team lead by a German, Carsten Damm (a.k.a. Dammi), and will be physically produced in the USA. After I’d submitted it, a team of six or so readers went through it initially, then Dammi drew all the comments together into one big editing list.

A confession: Dammi’s English is better than mine. Which is a bit of a worry, but hey, he’s the editor, not me!

I worked my way through the 95,000 word manuscript, dealing with all the changes the team had suggested, and then embarked on the even more challenging task of converting the whole thing from NZ English to US English, as that’s the standard for Earthdawn books. It was a chore, but the professionalism and eye for detail of Dammi and his team made the whole process a lot smoother than it would otherwise have been.

The final edits on Anarya’s Secrets have been made, and it’s disappeared off into the production process. That’s good timing, because I’ve recently received the edits to my short story collection Transported – a discontinuous prose narrative with mistakes.

Again, I’ve been most fortunate in my editor, Claire Gummer, who has done a great job of finding errors and making suggestions for improvement. I was a bit trepidatious – is that a word, editors? – about what I’d get back from Transported’s editor, but now I’m looking forward to the next stage of the editing process, when I respond to the changes Claire has proposed. Long live editors, I say!