Monday, 9 January 2012

Your Inner Editor

It is always a good idea to pay attention to what your inner editor is trying to tell you – he knows a lot more than we often give him credit for!

Whenever you’re not 100% sure about something – a scene perhaps, or the way a character reacts in a particular situation – then don’t just leave it. Your inner editor is telling you that there’s something wrong – so fix it now. Otherwise the instant it goes for critique – to an agent/editor – guess what the first thing covered in red ink will be!

The same applies to these moments when you’re reading through your work and you knock up against something that pulls you, just for an instant, out of the story. Again, it’s your inner editor. Listen to him. He’s right. Even if you can’t immediately see what’s wrong, mark that bit in red and come back to it.

We all know that moment when someone points out a flaw in your work and you think to yourself. “Drat – I knew that wasn’t working.”

That’s when you haven’t been listening to your inner editor.


  1. Wisely put Kate - it's so hard for any author to drag themselves back across that chapter or page that wasn't "quite right", and I'm not even sure why it should be. It always feels so great when the work's all finished!

  2. Yes, well put. But don't forget to leave a few juicy, be easily fixable, morsels for your editor to chew on. They're going to chew SOMETHING, after all;-)

  3. Yes! Great post, I agree with every word, Kate. And I think it goes the other way, too. If your editor (beta readers in my unpublished case!) make a suggestion that doesn't make sense to you, they are really simply saying that in its present form, that section doesn't work. I very often make changes where suggested but very often the changes I make aren't exactly what was suggested. (I think that makes sense...)

  4. Hi Kate,
    Very well articulated. My 'inner editor' keeps trying to tell me to not waste my time even bothering to write. Not good and thus I have fired my inner editor and replaced him with someone with a lot more positive interaction :)
    With respect and kind wishes, Gary

  5. The times we do not listen to that quiet voice whether writing or in life leads us into trouble

  6. @Dean - My inner editor seems to have an awful lot to say about my lastet first draft - finishing seems a long way off!

    @Thomas - a useful tip - I'll bear that in mind

    @Jaxbee - very true - we should all remember that when looking at critiques

    @Klahine - You were right to fire your inner editor in this case - no time writing is ever wasted!

    @Paul - sounds like the voice of experience!

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting :-)

  7. This is so true, Kate.

    I always kick myself when it turns out my inner ed was right all along (he's so smug!).

  8. My inner editor and I currently have some trust issues. I'm expecting shiny gifts and some serious sweet talk before I'm comfortable trusting him again!

  9. You are so right about the inner editor. We are all guilty of ignoring her. We kind of have a love hate relationship.

  10. @Ian and @Ruth - I haven't been ignoring you - seems there is a problem with embedded comments on blogegr at the moment.

    @Ciara - welcome! You spell you name the same way my daughetr does ;-)


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