Friday, February 02, 2007

To Edit Or Not to Edit

For the last twelve hours, I've been enjoying myself with my repaired laptop by cruising the Internet. I've dropped in on the half dozen writers' loops I belong to and caught up on the discussions. Something jumped out at me that warranted mention.

A newbie member of a loop posted an excerpt of his work. It was riddled with errors. A more experienced writer suggested he needed to pay attention to his spelling, punctuation and grammar. The newbie responded with an airy, "I don't worry about that stuff. That's for my editor to take care of."

I could just imagine the more experienced writers shaking their heads at his naivete. Why? Because things like grammar DO matter.

Agents and editors look for good writing. A manuscript filled with errors will annoy and distract them from the writing.

How can you claim to be a writer when you are ignoring the basics of the craft? It's like going on an interview with a torn shirt, uncut hair and a dirty face. Sure, you may be charming enough to convince someone to hire you. But the odds are stacked against you.

Gone are the days--if they ever existed--where hordes of editing minions sit around waiting to pore over your manuscript and fix your every mistake. Unless you're already a proven commodity in the publishing industry, you need to put your best foot forward in writing in the same way you would during an interview anywhere else.

NOTE: Please check the list of Agents and Editors to the right. I've added two new agent links: Nathan Bransford and Lori Perkins. Be sure to check them out.

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