If you missed part one of my interview with independent editor Lisa Rector, when we talked about using an independent editor for your work and what it means to reach the “third draft stage,” click HERE, then come back. Lisa specializes in late-draft writing, working with experienced writers in genres like fantasy, mystery and suspense to polish their work and make it publishing-ready. She owns Third Draft, an editing company in New York City, and frequently tours as an editor for agent Donald Maass’s Breakout Novel Workshops. Today, we continue our Q&A about the third draft, sagging middles, 11th hour checklists and more. Enjoy!
Interview with Lisa Rector: Part 2
Q: What are the most critical steps to take as you’re maneuvering through the third draft? In what order would you suggest taking them?
1. Get feedback from critique groups, mentors, professional writers and other members of the writing community. Be specific in your requests and look for consistencies among responses.
2. Learn to filter good advice from bad. Just because a character or idea is intriguing doesn’t mean it belongs in your book.
3. Distance yourself from the work. Put the manuscript away for a few days – or even a few weeks – you’ll likely return to it with renewed passion and a more objective eye.
Q: Are there any tips or tricks to make editing itself less “painful”?
LR: The thought of more work at this point can be crushing. It feels like a setback. It isn’t. It’s bringing you closer to publication.
Still, it can be overwhelming to focus on everything at once. I advise writers to edit with intention. One round may involve deepening motivation, another heightening tension or emotional complexity.
Editing has as much to do with finding one’s strengths as it does with eliminating weaknesses.
Q: Are there dangers associated with the third draft–like going too far with revisions and writing “new story” instead of enriching what’s already there? How can you catch yourself in this to ensure your edits are doing what they should at this stage? [Read more…]