I have a confession. I’m a lapsed writer. Writing used to be my preferred daily activity, and then it was a burden.
Asking for and getting feedback on your story feels like requesting a slap in the face, hoping for a high five, but getting punched in the gut instead. It’s hard to see or hear your story picked apart even if you know it is for the story’s own good.
Your finished book is the culmination of months or years of hard work made manifest in paper or pixels. You want it to look as compelling as the story it tells and as readable as the language you chose to tell it in.
If you ever want to see time stand still, say the word “marketing” in a group of writers. It’s like someone started a game of “Red Light, Green Light” and forgot to yell “Green light!” after everyone stopped moving. And yes, plenty of the frozen writers do look like they want to flee the room. The rest look like they want to vomit.
Where copy and line editors clean up a manuscript by polishing the prose itself, proofreaders check to make sure those changes came through without introducing more problems. They buff your manuscript to a brilliant sparkle.
Making sure you have the cleanest manuscript possible isn’t just good business sense, it shows you have respect for your reader, too. You don’t want them to get lost in your story because it’s full of errors they have to mentally correct along the way. You want them to get lost in it because it’s that good.
Ultimately, a developmental editor helps you develop as a writer. Sure, they help you write a story that others will want to read, but supporting your improvement as a writer is at the heart of the job. What you learn from a DE for one story should help you as you write future stories.
One of the most important lessons fanfiction writers learn as they write and post their stories, is that having a beta they can rely on for constructive criticism can mean the difference between an ok story and a story that winds up on recc lists long after their favorite show is off the air.
As a professional editor, I want to help other fic writers disprove the notion that fic writers aren’t real writers. We know better. Plenty of fic writers have published original fiction, some even winning awards for it. You can, too, and I can help you.
Last year, I plowed through the bulk of Kerry Greenwood’s Phryne Fisher mysteries. I devoured the twenty or so books in the series like I’d hit the Girl Scout cookie jackpot (which I have no doubt Phryne would approve of on several levels), only with none of the guilt or potential diabetes and a few bucks left in my pocket.