A writer may self-edit their own work but in my experience I have found another person editing your work has a distinct advantage. As co-authors, Debby and I helped each other perfect our work, which allowed us to combine our strengths in our writing. Still, I found that because of our close collaboration, we sometimes missed subtle details in our writing. During edits of our manuscript, we read those details into the writing when they weren’t actually on “paper”…..Well on our hard drives.
As a writer you bring detailed knowledge of the work with you. Therefore, it’s very easy to omit essential details like transitions, which help a reader to follow the story.
A fresh mind can smooth out your writing. With my editing, I had enormous help from both my sisters. Arshdeep came up with important details that helped move the plot. She suggested how many people when they are depressed will often fantasize about their own death. So that became the basis for the final passage in Chapter One where Logan imagines his funeral, which brings that chapter to climactic close.
My youngest sister, Amardeep, who is participating with Canada World Youth in a program in North Bay until she leaves for Tanzania in a few months, offered helpful criticism. She read middle chapters where I was getting stuck and offered an original way to look at the plot. She dissected those chapters and gave valuable feedback. At first, I resisted the changes she suggested but I found a way to work them into the plot and my writing style. Her suggestions helped me to get past the dreaded writer’s block because I gained a new perspective.
I believe getting family or friends who can have some objective distance from your writing can be insightful because they can offer you a new way to look at your writing. They can also pinpoint any areas that aren’t clear to them. Since they’re close to you, they will understand your work isn’t a final draft and offer suggestions tempered with encouragement.
The final edit by our publisher, Michael B. Davie, put the finishing touches on our novel. He helped to smooth out some rough areas. So take editing help when its offered to you because it will often help your writing. Of course, try to have the final say because any change needs to be consistent with your voice.