Why I Need an Editor Part #2

As I slowly move through my recent WIP (work in progress), my editor, Denise Vitola, is pointing out things that I never really thought about before. For instance, the word “very.” I like this word. If I’m happy, I’m usually very happy. If I’m tired, I’m usually very tired. Maybe I’m a girl of extremes, but I use this word to make my adjectives stronger and to show that “I’m really serious about this feeling.”

Alas, I’ve been instructed to “banish the word ‘very’ from my manuscript.” This word, along with other descriptive words like “extremely, ridiculously and amazingly.” Why? Because these words don’t give the reader any sort of real visual. There is always a stronger word to use. My thought to my editor was, “but why must we explain everything? Can’t we let our readers figure anything out for themselves or create whatever description they’d like themselves?” Her answer? “No.”

Her explanation and suggestions are this: If I say “the girl is very beautiful.” Denise says “the girl is either beautiful or she’s not. You can use a much better word.” Hence, if she’s THAT beautiful, well, “the girl is stunning.”

Along these same lines: “He is ridiculously funny.” Nope, he’s either funny or he’s not, or he’s HILARIOUS. “She is very cold.” If she is very cold, isn’t she “freezing? “She is very smart.” Actually, that means “she’s brilliant.” You get the idea.

Denise believes that as writers we must find ways to describe the situation visually to our readers. We must choose words that are stronger and have more description to them.

I agree and I’m very happy about her comments… Actually “I’m ecstatic!”

For anyone interested in working with a great editor – Denise is doing a special until Labor Day. Normally she charges $4 a page, but she’s only charging $2 a page, doublespaced, for your manuscript. If you wish to take your writing up to the next level and have a real writing coach work with you, with the work personalized specifically to your novel, I highly recommend her. Here’s her website: http://www.thomas-talks-to-me.com/editing/index.html

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19 thoughts on “Why I Need an Editor Part #2

    • Thank you – when we write, we simply write what comes out – but it’s the editing where we can catch ourselves and use better and more descriptive words. I’m trying – always a learning process, right?

  1. Love this post! I was recently rereading my manuscript for my children’s picture book and must have fallen madly in love with the word “some” – I will have SOME cake, SOMEtimes this happens, its 5 o’clock SOMEwhere. It was out of control!

    • Isn’t it funny in “some” books you do it more than others? One book I used the word “that” maybe 1000 times – it was insane until I started editing. Glad you liked the blog and thank you for reading it. 🙂

  2. Choosing stronger words can be “very” taxing. LOL. When I do Rebekah’s first draft edits “that” is ‘some’ of the things I look for. LOL this was fun.

  3. We all need an editor. Even when we think we don’t. I repeated the same word 150 in a 250 page manuscript. And I CAUGHT IT. I can’t even begin to imagine all the things I haven’t caught yet.

    • It’s why I know I need a professional eye on my work. I think everyone does. Our ideas are there – sometimes we just need a little help making them clearer. 🙂

    • It is always good to hear other people face the same issues. As an amatuer editor I struggle in edits to keep my “voice” from overtaking Rebekahs. Professional editors know how to accomplish this.

  4. This was a brilliant post on an urgent matter facing authors: How to make their work gripping without the use of trendy words or phrases, or lowering ourselves to the lowest common vernacular! Thank you Elyse. Those were some “dynamic” (great) “nuggets” (tips)! LOL

    • That is very true – one of the other wonderful things with my editor is that she has a saying… “this is your bookie wookie” – what she means is that you can use her suggestions, or not. It’s our choice. We are paying her for her expertise and thoughts. Though I will say, I use about 98% of them as my bane is grammar. But she also will beta read as she edits and tell me if things don’t make sense. Then, the rewrite begins!

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