Is editing costly or cost effective? Part 2

Is editing costly or cost effective? Part 2

If you gave your 100 per cent, will you feel devastated when someone rejects your story?

In part 1 of the series called, Is editing Costly or Cost Effective, I wrote about how editing makes any art invaluable. In part 2, I want to talk about three rules and how following them not only makes you feel that editing is cost effective but also empowers you as a writer.

Imagine a founder of a new startup asks an investor, ‘What do you think of my idea and if you don’t like it, feel free to change whatever you wish to.’ Bizarre, right? Many writers ask me similarly bizarre stuff, such as, ‘What do you think of my story, Priya?’ Writers don’t mean to say change whatever you want but often they don’t sound any more confident.

Why is that bizarre, you must be wondering! Before I tell, I must confess I have also succumbed to this worry. A very generous writing coach and author, William Kenower taught me a lesson that has the potential to change our writing life. He says that the only two questions you should ask as a writer are things under YOUR control.

  1. What do you want to write about?
  2. Have you done that on the page?

If you don’t know what you want to write about, then it is futile asking what others think of your writing. If you know what you want to write about and why, but have not done everything you can to show that on the page, why bother asking others’ opinion?

Many writers, especially beginning spend months and even years writing their stories but forget to ask the most crucial question: Can you sum up your story in a sentence in a way that ignites the reader’s mind? If you do that, and write your story as per the summation, chances are you will write with more ease and confidence and your struggles will not be needless.

Now imagine that you have done everything you could have on the page, will you feel devastated when your emails are not replied for weeks, when your  manuscript gets rejected or when someone criticizes your work?

  1. Yes
  2. No

It is even more crucial to know why you want to write about your chosen theme or character. While I will address the why in another post, suffice it to say that when you strike off these three:

  1. What do you want to write about?
  2. Why do you want to write about it?
  3. Have you done everything you can?

You will feel good and more resilient.

When an author who has done her part, approaches an editor or an agent, the author will convey what she needs from the professional. The conversations between them will not be a one sided negotiation but an engaging chat between two like-minded people.

When you are sure of the work you have done, you are willing to make reasonable investments, be it in measurables (time or money) and immeasurables (communication) to bring your story to the world in the best shape possible. Anything that is invaluable, such as editing, to that process is unlikely to feel costly when you are certain you have done everything you could have.

Read part 1 here

Part 3 will address the three tier approach through a case study. Watch this space for more!

Is editing costly or cost effective is a series that attempts to address, not merely seek to answer the question, whether editing is cost effective or costly. I attempt to address this conceptually as well as through case studies from my experience and other editors’. This series also welcomes views from editors, authors, filmmakers or anyone associated with storytelling, arguing not just for or against but proposing a thoughtful and objective approach as long as it is not a rant. Please note that this series is not meant to calculate the ‘right’ price for any project or type of editing. The series does not address any one type of editing but looks at editing in general. This means it could be copy editing, line editing, content development, development or structural editing, manuscript assessment and also film editing. If you have questions regarding rates for a specific project, you may leave a comment.




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