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Professional Editor for WOTF piece?

 
Shockhawk
(@shockhawk)
Advanced Member
Posts: 28

Greetings Writers -

I was wondering if any of your got any of your quarterly pieces professionally edited before submitting them.

I’m new to this game but I have noticed that a lot of the previous winners thanked spouses for editorial work... what if we don’t have wonderful editorial spouses? Or amazingly smart friends who are willing to edit?

Do any of you less than fortunate writers pay professionals for help on your submissions?

Shockhawk

Now! This is it! Now is the time to choose! Die and be free of pain, or live and fight your sorrow! Now is the time to shape your stories! Your fate is in your hands! - Auron FFX
Vol 37 - X, R, R, R
vol 38 - HM, X, WIP

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Topic starter Posted : May 23, 2020 1:35 pm
Disgruntled Peony
(@disgruntledpeony)
Gold Star Member
Posts: 1115

Greetings Writers -

I was wondering if any of your got any of your quarterly pieces professionally edited before submitting them.

I’m new to this game but I have noticed that a lot of the previous winners thanked spouses for editorial work... what if we don’t have wonderful editorial spouses? Or amazingly smart friends who are willing to edit?

Do any of you less than fortunate writers pay professionals for help on your submissions?

Shockhawk

I don't have the money to pay an editor, but I've participated in critique trades with many people on the forums over the years. That can be a helpful way to go.

If you are in difficulties with a book, try the element of surprise: attack it at an hour when it isn't expecting it. ~ H.G. Wells
R, SF, SHM, SHM, SHM, F, R, HM, SHM, R, HM, R, F, SHM, SHM, SHM, SF, SHM, 1st Place (Q2 V38)
Ticknor Tales

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Posted : May 23, 2020 1:55 pm
Henckel
(@henckel)
Silver Member
Posts: 417

Good question. I've entered the contest about 6 times over the last few years and have never hired an editor. Given the cost, I'd have to be very very confident in a story before hiring one.

(2014) V31 Q1 – R
(2018) V35 Q3 – HM
(2019) V36 Q3 – HM
(2019) V36 Q4 – SHM
(2020) V37 Q1 – R
(2020) V37 Q2 – HM
(2020) V37 Q3 – SHM
(2020) V37 Q4 – Finalist
(2021) V38 Q1 – Semi-finalist
(2021) V38 Q2 – SHM
(2021) V38 Q3 – tba

Coolest Achievements
(2019) Published in Escape Anthology
(2020) Published in Sci-Fi Lampoon
(2020) V37 Q4 – Finalist
(2020) Dream Foundry - Shortlisted
(2021) Mike Resnick Memorial Award - 3rd Place winner!!! (to be published)

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Posted : May 23, 2020 2:11 pm
TimE
 TimE
(@time)
Silver Member
Posts: 338

September Fawkes has helped a winner - see https://www.septembercfawkes.com/p/testimonials.html
As has Harry de Wulf - see https://harrydewulf.com/award-winning/

I got a quote from September to see what she thought of an entry of mine that had been rejected. She made a few complimentary remarks about the sample I sent, but it was a long piece. It would have been expensive to have paid for the various aspects of editing of the whole lot. After looking for reasons for rejection from mag. editors, I decided I had little to gain - I could see why it failed.
I do keep thinking about getting an edit from her, but it seems a Catch 22. If I'm not pretty sure it's a winner then it feels like money wasted. And I think I have a winner, how much extra polishing does it need? And apart from that, I'm not sure I could tell a winner - I don't like a few in Vol 36.
I reckon originality is the biggest factor in winning - and volume 36 in particular reflects that. An editor can't put originality into a story. But then was it Mike Wood in his recent podcast who said what a difference a pro editor makes.

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Posted : May 23, 2020 9:10 pm
chuckt
(@chuckt)
Silver Member
Posts: 419

Review by the right person with the right experience can be extremely helpful. Be it a paid editor or a really good writer.

36: R, R, R, SHM
37: R, HM, R, HM
38: HM, R, ?

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Posted : May 24, 2020 1:38 am
TimE
 TimE
(@time)
Silver Member
Posts: 338

Review by the right person with the right experience can be extremely helpful. Be it a paid editor or a really good writer.

As Kate would testify to after her win.

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Posted : May 24, 2020 2:09 am
einstein36
(@einstein36)
Bronze Member
Posts: 69

Like they said, the right person with the right experience can help you if you want to hire editor like Carrie Callahan:)...

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Posted : May 24, 2020 2:40 am
AjZach
(@ajzach)
Bronze Member
Posts: 96

I haven't hired an editor, but the library in my city has a writer in residence every year. I saw him twice, and each time sent him part of my story that I was intending to enter (they were limited to 3000 words at a time). He gave a line by line critique and plenty of other help, all for free, plus the experience of a published author.
Maybe you have access to a program like that near you.

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Posted : May 24, 2020 4:48 am
Shockhawk
(@shockhawk)
Advanced Member
Posts: 28

Great answers! Thank everyone!!

I will definitely check the local library and use the exchange thread.

Shockhawk

Now! This is it! Now is the time to choose! Die and be free of pain, or live and fight your sorrow! Now is the time to shape your stories! Your fate is in your hands! - Auron FFX
Vol 37 - X, R, R, R
vol 38 - HM, X, WIP

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Topic starter Posted : May 25, 2020 10:53 pm
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2277

I do freelance editing--it's a major portion of my income--both fiction, nonfiction, and audio editing as well. I also had my own publishing company, designing complete marketing systems for startup companies in the financial sector, including their corporate logos, brochures, newsletters, and advertising campaigns. I've done editing for bestselling authors, and even Dave has sent me a client. So I might be qualified to comment. I will simply say this. When I was a skier, I used to take lessons from a pro at the start of each season. If I could afford a private lesson, I did, because there is no better way to grow your skills faster than to get a lesson from an expert that turns his trained eye upon you.

And that is what a good editor is. A teacher. A private tutor. Even one lesson will put you ahead in your game. And if you can afford to keep hiring them, they become your writing coach.

A qualified editor can shave years off a writer's learning curve.

If you can't afford one, take one of their workshops. It's like a group lesson.

And that is all I have to say.

JOIN THE WULF PACK! http://the super secrets.com
"Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler" wins WRITERS OF THE FUTURE VOL. 35 & BEST SF&F STORY OF 2019. Order WotF Volume 35 HERE!
“Muzik Man" in Deep Magic Fall 2020 wins BEST SF&F STORY of 2020
NEW! Don't miss the Super Secret "Character Agency: I Need a Hero!" in DreamForge Anvil Magazine!
JUST RELEASED! BEST OF DEEP MAGIC ANTHOLOGY TWO! Three Super Secrets Workshop members made it into this best of the best anthology! KD Julicher, Brittany Rainsdon, and some guy named Wulf Moon. Click HERE to get yours!
NEXT MASTER CLASSES AT FYRECON ONLINE, NOV. 18-21ST. Click HERE before they are sold out once again!

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Posted : May 26, 2020 11:50 am
SwiftPotato
(@swiftpotato)
Silver Star Member
Posts: 555

For what it's worth, my winning piece was edited by my husband (who barely reads fiction at all) and one friend (who writes, but occasionally). Smile However, as others have said, having a professional look at your work can be valuable, as long as you take their advice and apply it to both that story and your future stories. Sometimes a person who's seen it all is just what your story needs. On the other hand, though, lots of people swear by the crits they receive on the forum. Plenty of people here are excellent critters, and many of them hang around the critique exchange boards. At the end of the day, it's up to you and what you feel your story needs. Best of luck!

R, 3rd place Q4 v36!!!
Stories in Apocalyptic, Cossmass Infinities, and Podcastle

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Posted : May 27, 2020 1:07 am
AliciaCay liked
AlexH
(@alexh)
Silver Member
Posts: 253

I had stories professionally edited the year I started taking my writing seriously and submitting to WotF. I'm definitely a better writer because of that.

I sent my recent HM story to Mica Scotti Kole (an editor and recent WotF winner) and have just read her excellent feedback on the story. It makes me wonder how the story got HM in the first place. There are things that will make the story instantly better and a couple of things I'm struggling to get my head around, but if I can, it'll make the story much much better and give it a much greater chance of being published. There are always lessons for future stories in feedback too.

I envy those who can write stories, get a couple of people they know to read them, edit and then get them published! I doubt it's as easy as I make that sound.

35: - R R R | 36: R HM R R | 37: HM HM HM SHM | 38: HM HM

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Posted : May 27, 2020 7:53 am
Dustin Adams
(@axeminister)
Gold Member
Posts: 997

My wife is a professional author and gets paid well to critique manuscripts. I'm very lucky to have her to read my stories. I still haven't won. But that's totally on me. I just don't write enough words to flex the muscles needed to hit one out of the park.

That said, I have a few readers that go over my earlier drafts. I do my best to get it submission ready, then give to her. She says, "You don't think this is ready, do you?" And I miss another quarter.

My issue is almost always a lack of "character" (whatever that is). I try to explain it's not as important in WotF because we're going for the Big New Idea. (Did I mention I still haven't won?) But when it comes to the 450, try-fails, Save the Cat, and denouement, I'm solid. I'm pretty good at my own copy editing as well.

My point? I do believe a pro could give you a leg up. If the staircase is 10 stairs, they will fully carry you for one of them, but you have to do the other 9. If you can afford it, go for it. It's only money (said jokingly, but factually).

2x Finalist
2x Semi
6x Silver
9x HM
1 of 6 SilverHM. 1 of 3 DSF: Short Stories. My Finalist #1 Finalist #2 coming soon in 4th & Starlight

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Posted : May 28, 2020 6:02 am
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2277

My point? I do believe a pro could give you a leg up. If the staircase is 10 stairs, they will fully carry you for one of them, but you have to do the other 9. If you can afford it, go for it. It's only money (said jokingly, but factually).

Great point, Dustin. Freelance editors will help, but we still have to do the work. No way around it.

JOIN THE WULF PACK! http://the super secrets.com
"Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler" wins WRITERS OF THE FUTURE VOL. 35 & BEST SF&F STORY OF 2019. Order WotF Volume 35 HERE!
“Muzik Man" in Deep Magic Fall 2020 wins BEST SF&F STORY of 2020
NEW! Don't miss the Super Secret "Character Agency: I Need a Hero!" in DreamForge Anvil Magazine!
JUST RELEASED! BEST OF DEEP MAGIC ANTHOLOGY TWO! Three Super Secrets Workshop members made it into this best of the best anthology! KD Julicher, Brittany Rainsdon, and some guy named Wulf Moon. Click HERE to get yours!
NEXT MASTER CLASSES AT FYRECON ONLINE, NOV. 18-21ST. Click HERE before they are sold out once again!

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Posted : May 28, 2020 9:08 am
LDWriter2
(@ldwriter2)
Gold Star Member
Posts: 1267

I have paid an editor more than once, more than three for that matter but most of the time not. So far it has been no difference with Dave's responses so I am not inclined to spend the money.

Working on turning Lead into Gold.
Four HMs From WotF
The latest was Q1'12
HM-quarter 4 Volume 32
One HM for another contest
published in Strange New Worlds Ten.
Another HM http://onthepremises.com/minis/mini_18.html

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Posted : May 28, 2020 3:09 pm
Dustin Adams
(@axeminister)
Gold Member
Posts: 997

Joshua Essoe is releasing 5 how-to books based on what he sees during his professional editing.
The first is available for $3 on Kickstarter if you are interested.
For higher pledges, his editing is available.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jo ... escription

2x Finalist
2x Semi
6x Silver
9x HM
1 of 6 SilverHM. 1 of 3 DSF: Short Stories. My Finalist #1 Finalist #2 coming soon in 4th & Starlight

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Posted : June 3, 2020 1:53 am
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2277

I know Joshua from Superstars--he's Tribe. He is friendly and funny. I noted he recently got an HM in Writers of the Future, so he likes the contest. Kary English uses him for her larger works, and says he is thorough. I am sure his books will have good insights on writing.

JOIN THE WULF PACK! http://the super secrets.com
"Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler" wins WRITERS OF THE FUTURE VOL. 35 & BEST SF&F STORY OF 2019. Order WotF Volume 35 HERE!
“Muzik Man" in Deep Magic Fall 2020 wins BEST SF&F STORY of 2020
NEW! Don't miss the Super Secret "Character Agency: I Need a Hero!" in DreamForge Anvil Magazine!
JUST RELEASED! BEST OF DEEP MAGIC ANTHOLOGY TWO! Three Super Secrets Workshop members made it into this best of the best anthology! KD Julicher, Brittany Rainsdon, and some guy named Wulf Moon. Click HERE to get yours!
NEXT MASTER CLASSES AT FYRECON ONLINE, NOV. 18-21ST. Click HERE before they are sold out once again!

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Posted : June 8, 2020 5:15 am
Dustin Adams
(@axeminister)
Gold Member
Posts: 997

Right, I forgot to mention he does have a finalist to his credit.

2x Finalist
2x Semi
6x Silver
9x HM
1 of 6 SilverHM. 1 of 3 DSF: Short Stories. My Finalist #1 Finalist #2 coming soon in 4th & Starlight

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Posted : June 8, 2020 6:36 am
Morgan
(@morgan-broadhead)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 131

I've paid for professional editors a couple times before. All were very helpful. The last time I used one though, uhhh...hmmm...yeah... The feedback was terrific, don't get me wrong. She loved the story. Loved the voice. Said the writing was solid. Just...the whole thing really needed to be...different. Totally reworked. And there were lots of questions that needed to be answered and holes to be plugged.

It sucked the wind right out of my sails and I felt dead in the water after that. My inner critic skipped 100% over all the positive things she had to say. All I heard was, "Blah blah blah blah this story sucks and you're a terrible writer."

Everything she said about the story was totally accurate. It did need to be reworked. But, I don't know, for some reason it made be question everything I had ever learned about writing and, quite suddenly, I found that I didn't even know how to write anymore. It took me a while to come back after that — over a year, as a matter of fact.

This story though, the one I'm currently writing for Q4, is going to an editor next week. It's the same story, actually. I finally screwed my head back in place and made all the changes she suggested and rewrote the entire thing. It's a completely different story now.

What I learned was this: I simply wasn't ready at that particular time in my writing career to receive a professional critique of my writing. Or maybe that was the exact right moment, I dunno, because my writing got better as a result. At least I think it did. Also, it made me realize how serious I really was about this gig. I mean, I didn't have to come back to it after being away for so long. But I found I just couldn't stay away from it anymore either. Being away from it ground at me like rust on a bumper.

So my advice about hiring a professional editor is DO IT if you can afford it. But also be prepared to do some serious work after the feedback rolls in.

"If you can do it for joy, you can do it forever."
- Stephen King
Drop me a line at https://morganbroadhead.com

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Posted : September 3, 2021 12:18 pm
AliciaCay, David Hankins, storysinger and 2 people liked
czing
(@czing)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 199

I've had a professional editor work on my novel (which just confirmed what I suppose I should have known - that it was very broken and really needs to be re-written from scratch). And I've also had a professional editor work on a developmental review of one of my short stories and I have a friend who is an editor who I have paid to do more of a line edit I guess it is (punctuation, grammar etc). In addition to that I have had a LOT of critiques from a lot of different people on many of my pieces.

I think all of those experiences were good and important. The novel one was a hard pill to swallow because it was expensive and sad making - but it was a learning experience. 

The big key for me is finding the right fit. Not every professional editor is going to be the same quality - but more importantly not all of them will be a match to your needs. Just like not every critique partner will be a match to your needs. The process has really helped me learn what I need from an editor though and so now, when I go looking for one I know what to ask for - and if that doesn't match their way of working then I know it isn't a match (I need inline comments not just an 'editorial letter').

At some point I may well get an editor on more of my stories because I may choose to self-pub a collection of them at some point - so with that in mind I would certainly consider a professional editor more often with my entries.

v36 Q1, Q3 - HM; Q4 - R
v37 Q1 - R; Q2 - SHM; Q4 - HM
v38 Q1 - HM; Q2 -SHM; Q3 - P

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Posted : September 13, 2021 11:11 am
czing
(@czing)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 199

Oh and just a note on 'fit' - you may want to ask if they have samples of their work you can see or if they will do a page or two of your piece as a sample to see if their style works for you. I really recommend this if looking for an editor - it definitely helped me avoid one whose style never would have worked for me.

v36 Q1, Q3 - HM; Q4 - R
v37 Q1 - R; Q2 - SHM; Q4 - HM
v38 Q1 - HM; Q2 -SHM; Q3 - P

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Posted : September 13, 2021 11:18 am
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2277

@czing Many freelance editors do content or developmental edits. You want one that also does line-by-line edits. These are the most time consuming for editors to do, which is why many don’t offer them. But I feel I’m doing a disservice to my clients if I don’t show them how to rework awkward lines or  correct obvious grammar and dialogue errors. They are paying me to help them craft a professional work that has the best chance of selling. Just writing up a couple pages of commentary will not accomplish that. 

JOIN THE WULF PACK! http://the super secrets.com
"Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler" wins WRITERS OF THE FUTURE VOL. 35 & BEST SF&F STORY OF 2019. Order WotF Volume 35 HERE!
“Muzik Man" in Deep Magic Fall 2020 wins BEST SF&F STORY of 2020
NEW! Don't miss the Super Secret "Character Agency: I Need a Hero!" in DreamForge Anvil Magazine!
JUST RELEASED! BEST OF DEEP MAGIC ANTHOLOGY TWO! Three Super Secrets Workshop members made it into this best of the best anthology! KD Julicher, Brittany Rainsdon, and some guy named Wulf Moon. Click HERE to get yours!
NEXT MASTER CLASSES AT FYRECON ONLINE, NOV. 18-21ST. Click HERE before they are sold out once again!

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Posted : September 13, 2021 11:21 am
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