an old joke. A guy goes to the doctor and says, "So what's
wrong with me?" The doctor says, "You've broken your arm."
The guy says, "I'd like a second opinion." The doc says,
"Okay, you've broken your leg."
What's the point of this
That's simple. A second
opinion is not necessarily more valid than a first opinion.
Which, in this context, means that the opinion of a professional
editor isn't necessarily any better than your own
opinion - or, for that matter, the opinion of your best
Opinion is just opinion.
It's a viewpoint; a perspective; the world as witnessed
from a given vantage point (with all the emotional and intellectual
luggage the critic happens to be carrying).
You may have written something
so far off the beam that a professional editor simply can't
engage with it, let alone edit it. You may be the
next big thing trailblazing a whole new style. You may have
mined a fresh seam of fiction that needs to be examined
within its own terms, rather than fed through the treadmill
All that a professional
editor is likely to do is show you how far you've drifted
from the straight and narrow of literary orthodoxy. That's
all. And that may not be where you want to be.
Want to read more?
There are over 25,000 words of
writing tips and advice on my website. I've spent months
writing these pages, and years refining them. I'm happy to
share my professional knowledge with you. But like everyone
else, I need to capitalise on my skills and efforts.
For just £1.99 I'll send you my entire
MR EDIT'S WRITING ADVICE FOR AUTHORS as a .pdf file. Just follow the link below, or above, and you'll be taken to PayPal. You don't need an account; just a credit card or a
You'll generally receive my writing
guide within an hour. But occasionally technical glitches
from PayPal delay this for up to 24 hours.
Either way, you'll receive 25,000
very helpful words that will make you a better writer, will
give you fresh insight into your work, and
will improve the chances of a literary agent or publisher
accepting your manuscript.
Edit YouTube videos
Meanwhile, here are
some of my You Tube videos that might be of interest to you.
Hope you enjoy them.
Mr Edit. Let's talk about dialogue
Mr Edit. Pitching fiction to a literary
Mr Edit. 5 Minute Fiction Fix.
Mr Edit. Let's talk about tautology.
Preditors & Editors.
Here's where you can check out the credentials of literary agents and
publishers. A must for any writer.
Creative Helps. Helpful
resource for the creative community. Articles, links and tips.
Nick Daws' Writing Blog.
Lots of useful posts on all aspects of writing, both for print and online,
plus a guest post for anyone who wants to make a contribution. Check it
Plotting a novel
Finding a literary agent
Choosing a literary agent
Agent query letters
Inspiration for writers
5 minute fiction fix
How to get published
Active & passive voice
literary agent, on books,
publishing and success
creator of the
Charlie Fox series of books
New York literary agent,
Crème de la Crime:
and managing editor of a smaller—but
send your manuscript (or a sample of it) as a Word document,
or just paste 2000-3000 or so words into an email. Include
a reasonably comprehensive synopsis, and explain exactly
what you want from the critique.
are, you already know - or have some idea - of where your
strengths and weaknesses are. In which case, you may simply
be looking for someone to check that you've achieved what
you set out to achieve. Does my dialogue make sense?
for instance. Or: Is my lead character consistent?
Or: Is the pacing too slow? Or too fast? Keep in
mind too that publishers employ people to do exactly this.
The best way to think of a literary critique is as a pre-MOT
check for your car; as something to make sure that your
wheels will at least get you to the testing station.
agents and submissions editors may not necessarily be all
that impressed when you advise them that the manuscript
you've just submitted has been reworked by a professional
editor. Professional editing standards range from wonderful
to abysmal, and literary agents and submissions editors
are perfectly aware of this. Then again, the standards of
literary agents and submissions editors also range from
wonderful to abysmal. However, they're the one's in control.
plus side, mentioning the fact that you've had your manuscript
professionally edited may impress and show commitment. On
the minus side, it might also suggest that your work has
been "adulterated" and make the literary agent or submissions
editor wonder where your work starts and ends.
you do about it? Just "play it by ear". But I'd suggest
that you don't mention the involvement of a professional
editor, not until you feel it's really called for.
goal, remember, is to get the attention of a literary agent
or submissions editor. And to that end, let them accept
the work (or not) on its own terms.
too; this is just my opinion.