Two Sample Edits

Editors are an important part of the publication process, but we are not gods. We make suggestions, some more strongly than others, but in the end, the writer decides what they will and will not change.

I offered to do some free sample edits in order to show you how I work and what I look for. Hopefully, this is a learning process for us all.

Our first edit comes from Helena Stone, who gave me permission to share her name with you. The sample is from a short story she recently posted on her blog. You can read the rest of it here.

On the issue of American English vs British English: some publishers will insist on changing BE to AE, but not all of them do. I point it out in the sample for informational purposes only. BE is not incorrect. 🙂 To see the samples more clearly, click on them.

H Stone sample

The story starts well, and the writing is good. I suggested minor changes only. Helena is at the beginning of her writing career and will get better the more she writes, but already she’s pretty good. 🙂

Moving on to our second sample:

sample 2

Again, this writer is pretty good, and that last paragraph is terrific! It gave me a nice little thrill. 🙂

Both writers get the reader into the story quickly. You have only a short time to grab their attention, so use it well.

Thanks to the writers for being brave enough to send me samples. Editing can be a frightening process to beginning authors, but if it’s looked at as something positive, it can be invaluable in accelerating the process of learning your craft. Ask yourself why an editor suggests a change, and if you see value in it, incorporate the knowledge into what you already know.

Have a great weekend. See you Monday, when I will be posting an edited excerpt from AJ Rose’s upcoming new release, Consent.




About Fenraven

Fenraven happily lives in south Florida, where it is really hot most of the year. Find him on Twitter, Google +, and Facebook by searching on 'fenraven'.
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25 Responses to Two Sample Edits

  1. Helena Stone says:

    You are too kind, :). Thank you very much for doing that. As you said, all of this is new to me and this is a next step in the learning process. We’ll have to wait and see if I’ll indeed get any better, but it won’t be for want of trying. I’m very much looking forward to the subsequent editing samples and posts, especially the one you mentioned as coming up on Monday 🙂

  2. Aniko says:

    I love this kind of insight into the editing process. I do some beta reading, and editing has always interested me. Thank you for sharing, Theo, Helena and the second author.

  3. I agree with Helena. Thank you so much for doing this. I try to take every opportunity to learn.

    The most painful and important lesson I’ve learned since I began writing 5 or 6 years ago is that I have to throw my ego and pride out the window when it comes to editing. I can’t do it alone. It doesn’t make me less of a talented writer to use beta feedback and editing. That was an excruciating lesson but well worth it.

  4. Allison says:

    I have been looking forward to this. It’s interesting to see how the process works plus it will help me when I am beta reading too. Heh, I went back and edited that because of some of the things you said above. 😀

  5. jrgraybooks says:

    Loved it. Thank all three of you for sharing.

  6. A.M.B. says:

    It’s interesting to see you “in action” as an editor! You’re definitely a good one. I enjoyed the snippet of Helena’s short story.

  7. Ginny Farnsworth says:

    Just caught up with these; really interesting to see the changes you’ve made. Thanks Helena and Brigham for being brave enough to share these with us.

  8. Jaycee Edward says:

    This is fascinating! Most people close to me know I sent you a sample of mine early on and let’s just say you didn’t give it rave reviews. o.O I’m still pretty certain you made a voodoo doll. After doing what seems like a million re-writes, I’ve been dying to send you another one, but hadn’t worked up the courage. So, when Helena messaged me and asked if I’d seen your blog, I felt like it was aimed right at me. You know – the ‘universe’ at work? 😉 I’m glad Helena talked me into it, though. As Brigham said, you really do have to throw your ego and pride out the window if you want brutally honest feedback, and any other kind is worthless, anyway. You did me a huge favor, although it didn’t feel like that at the time. 😉 After seeing your edits, though, Fen, I have to ask: How are you able to turn the ‘editor’ off and read for enjoyment?

    • I can’t ever turn the editor off, and reading for pleasure now is fraught with pitfalls. I find myself automatically deleting superfluous “that”s all the time! On the rare occasion I come across a well-edited book, I enjoy it very much. 🙂

  9. diannegray says:

    These are fabulous. It’s great to get that editorial opinion because when you’re writing, you’re too far into the thick of it sometimes to notice 😀

    • Absolutely! When I write, I’m not wondering whether it’s grammatically correct or I’m sending eyes on a journey around the room. I’m only concerned with getting what I’m seeing in my mind down in a way that makes sense. It’s when I go back over the entire manuscript at the end that I spot repetition, too many uses of the word “just” (my favorite junk word, though I’ve now almost completely eliminated it from my writing), spot places that need a comma or could go without one, passive voice, etc.

      After doing the initial edit, it goes to betas, who see a lot more because a writer can’t properly edit their own work unless it’s been lying around a few months. I then make all those changes before sending it on to AJ Rose, who has an amazing eye for things that never occur to anyone else. 🙂

      By now, the manuscript has been through at least five different sets of eyes, many changes have been made, and then it gets reformatted as a PDF and I go through it again. I stumble on things in that format I simply cannot see when it’s in Word.

      I do not recommend anyone edit their own work. In fact, it’s a bad thing to do for most writers because you see what you meant to write, not what’s actually there. I do it because I can’t afford to hire someone as good as me. 🙂

      And then, inevitably, one or two things slip by anyway. It’s the nature of the beast. I fixed two typos in Wolf Bound in PDF format, and no one has said a word about catching anything, so maybe this one time, I released a nearly perfectly edited book. *knocks on wood* That’s always my goal: to make the story as perfect as possible, at least as far as editing goes.

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