Monday, June 23, 2014

Publication Transparency: Value of an Editor

Having had Thorn of Dentonhill go through the editorial process, and in the midst of working the edits for A Murder of Mages, I have nothing but praise for my fantastic editor, Sheila Gilbert*.  I really believe her influence has made Thorn a better book than it would have otherwise been, and A Murder of Mages is on a similar journey right now.

I mean, just the title A Murder of Mages came from her.

Here's the big thing she does when we talk about the books-- she doesn't so much tell me "this is what you need to change" as much as ask me questions.  Questions about the characters and the world, and most of the time, these are questions I am completely able to answer.

I have to confess, I have a certain... apprehension when it comes to the infodump.  Infodumps are, in my opinion, not good, and I try and avoid them, instead weaving information in dialogue and description in bite-sized amounts.  Except sometimes I'm-- unintentionally-- too meager with those small bites.  Sheila helps remind me that my audience will want and need that information. 

But she'll also bring up questions I hadn't necessarily thought of.  Not that I don't have the answers, but I didn't think it was an important thing to consider while I was writing. Or if I did, it was something I was holding in reserve for a sequel. 

The point is, the process is one of inquiry, not dictation.  And one of strengthening and building, not removal.

And, of course, I'm quite proud of the results.

*-And clearly I am not the only one, since she's been nominated for a Hugo for the second year in a row. 

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