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An editor’s tale

I received this in conversation with Kay Green of Circaidy Gregory Press and I thought it was so good that I had to share it. An insight for us writers about the importance of editing

Proof reading is one of the reasons editors are needed – it’s hard to correct your own work because you already know it so well you read what is supposed to be there, rather than what is.

At a deeper level, the same is true of fiction editing. I constantly hark back to a fantastic lecture I went to by Beverley Birch, writer and editor of novels for children. She had an extended metaphor running through the whole lecture in which the writer was a film director, the editor a producer and – well, editor.

But the difference is in what has already been made in the writer’s head. When you write a novel, by the end of the first draft the story is complete in your head, as a film or, as internal films are most commonly known, a ‘daydream’. You can see it all perfectly, and the words you write and re-write are the imperfect pencil lines on that bit of tracing paper. The problem is that you, the author, cannot switch off the film completely – it’s indelibly in your head – so you cannot see what the words alone look like when the tracing paper (your ms) is moved away from the original (your daydream). Only your editor can do that.

By Geraint Roberts

Stuck in a limbo and desperate to do something meaningful, what to do? That is where writing began for me. A creative way of expressing myself and a chance to harness my wondering imagination. I close my eyes and I'm there. Wish I'd picked 'there' as a warm sunny day on a sandy beach, with the waves gently lapping on the shore...but I have to let the story load in my mind, then watch it unfold, wherever it may be. Currently I'm in an Estonian forest being bitten by midges

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