Manuscripts need to be polished. You know what else can be polished? A TURD! Watch it on MythBusters.
The crap that makes up the first draft of a novel should never be published for your readers. Unless you are some magical wielder of words who makes no mistakes in which case, CONGRATS BRO!
I’m a firm believer that the first draft should be well tended just as the final draft should be. Passion and focus are important in all stages of writing. But we all know that the first draft has tons of awful bits we don’t want our readers laying their precious eye holes on. This is why an experienced editor should have their way with the MS before its published.
I’m neck deep in edits right now. I have had my MS critiqued and edited for content (which is the stage I’m working on now) and once that is complete, my precious will be sent to a copy editor for finishing touches, you know, punctuation and grammar type things.
Why two editors, Frankie?
Editors come in all shapes and sizes (because they are human after all) and it’s a lot of work to pluck out all the horrific blunders an author makes whilst typing in the wee hours, eyes propped open with toothpicks like Tom’s when he stalking that clever little Jerry. I am working with two who each specialize in different scopes of the editing field. I’m not saying that one editor doesn’t have the capacity to hook your MS up proper, of course there are talented editors out there that can do that. But having more than one also puts more eyes on your MS. That is never a bad thing, yeah?
As I said, I’m in the editing process now with the second book of The Eramane Saga. My content editor ripped me a new b-hole, in a good way. This has opened me up to ideas that have enhanced my work, and forced me to rewrite nearly three chapters. Complete rewrites people! Three Chapters! Ugh! It sucked!
But I did it. And I’m so glad I did, because Blood Soaked Ashes is melding into the story I didn’t know it could be. That’s what good editors do. Your baby, that precious doc of 80k? 90k? 120k words, deserves to be dissected and picked apart and polished. But, unlike a turd, the finished MS should not smell. Unless you handled it after you polished and actual turd.
In a nutshell, before you publish, make sure it’s edited! Professionally! By someone who isn’t you!
Okay, I’ll stop exclaiming.
ASIDE RANT. I don’t want to leave anyone hangin’. Editors don’t work for free. And it’s difficult to find editors that take unsolicited submissions. I get that. If you’re not in the spot to work with professional editors at the moment, try finding online critique partner/s/groups. Participate in the NaNoWriMo and join forums that can hook you up with others willing to dish their opinion on your writing skillz. There is a plethora of resources out there for finding other writers who would love to critique your work. FYI, you are probably going to have to critique theirs too. Even tradesies. (That’s my non-word of the day.) And here is an article that describes types of critique partners/groups to avoid. Here is just another helpful link.
Shout out to SubItClub. You have lots o resources for writers! That’s awesome!