Have you ever given someone directions on how to make your favorite recipe then left out an important ingredient or step because it is so second-nature to you that you didn’t even think to mention it? Oversights and many more errors of that type will hang on in your work with the tenacity of a teenager gripping a cell phone. A fresh pair of trained eyes will uncover holes in the plot, inconsistencies in your characters’ behavior, the grammar mistakes you commonly make, the things you cannot see because you are too close to the work.
And then there are the errors you will read over and over and never notice because you know what you meant to write and that is what you will see. I recently wrote the word ‘panting’ instead of ‘painting’. I discovered the error myself, but it survived several rounds of my editing the story.
Editors can be expensive but a good editor is worth it. If your editor is a friend or relative working for dinner, ensure you choose someone who will be brutally honest with you about your work. This is not the time to be congratulated, there will be lots of that when the manuscript is released.
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