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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

When should you hire a freelance editor? Part four

Click here for part three

Have you finished your novel?

If the answer is no, then I’d suggest you finish it first before considering hiring a freelance editor.

Why? Because there is something that happens in a writer when they complete a manuscript.

Finishing a book requires perseverance and dedication. A writer is tested in these things when she writes a novel, and she can only know if she has those qualities when she types, “The End.” This perseverance and dedication is what separates “real writers” from “wannabe writers.”

There are also things a writer learns about the writing craft in finishing a novel—the “sagging middle” syndrome, what a rushed ending looks like, the intricacies of tying up all the story threads. A writer who hasn’t experienced these things is still only a beginning writer, and you want to strive to be an intermediate writer before you hire a freelance editor. That way, the critique will be more effective.

Getting your entire novel critiqued by your critique partners is also a valuable learning experience. You will receive feedback on a larger scale—the story’s pacing, the character’s arcs, how those arcs resolved, how the climax built up (or didn’t), if the ending was satisfying and why or why not.

Those are things you cannot learn when your critique partners critique the same chapters over and over because you spend too much time polishing and not enough time just finishing the darn book.

An editor or agent will only consider an unpublished novelist if the novel is finished. It is very rare that an unfinished novel is contracted by a publishing house. Therefore, make sure you have that finished novel before you invest significant funds to have it edited by a freelance editor.

Click here for part five

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