From the desk of W. J. Onufer…
Testing…testing…Is this thing on?
Ah. Yes. So I’m back. My last entry in this was back in July. Where have I gone? Nowhere. I’ve just been a huge slacker who hasn’t updated this. So now I’m back. Hadley’s been rather annoyed that I haven’t kept up with this. And generally speaking you don’t want to make a habit of annoying the Vampire Hadley Price.
A few thoughts about Editors verses Beta Readers.
But first a short-version update on what’s been happening here at Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price since July.
Hadley second book, The Family Eternal: Part One has been released. It’s a short-novel available as an e-book only. You can get order that, as well as Hadley’s first full-length novel, Beckman’s Folly by clicking on this link-
In October, My little Vampire gal was, once again, a guest character in the Byron Chronicles audio drama. It’s a two-part Halloween episode entitled The Dawn of ’78. Series producer, Eric Busby and I collaborated on writing the script. What’s it about? The Vampire Hadley Price and Byron, the Paleman of Portand have a run-in with zombies. And not just zombies, but zombie in a shopping mall. I was a lot of fun to write. You’ll have fun listening to it. You can do that by clicking on this link-
Now to the issue of Editors verses Beta Readers.
Why this topic? For the last few months, my Editor, Christine Piesyk, and I have been editing Torch, the next full-length Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price novel. It’s been rather intense. And that may go a long way in explaining why I’ve been absent from updating here. In either case, we’re looking at a release date of that some time after the beginning of the year.
The editing of Beckman’s Folly was my first experience with something I wrote that was book-length. In retrospect, the editing of it was fairly smooth. And editing of The Family Eternal: Part One was a walk in the park.
With the smooth editing experience of my first two books, I may have been a little cocky when I went into editing Torch. Christine, my Editor, soon issued me huge does of humility that cured me of that cockiness. I won’t go into detail, except to say that substantial changes were made to the manuscript. The content of the story wasn’t altered. The way it was told, however, was. Christine slapped me around pretty good on this.
So editing has consumed my life’s energy recently. And Hadley’s over my shoulder having a big laugh as I stumble through this.
It got me to thinking about a thread on an online forum I participated in a year or so back. In that forum, someone said that they didn’t need an Editor to look at what they’re written because they have 20 Beta Readers.
Now, a definitions of terms might be necessary. If you don’t know what a Beta Reader is, allow me to explain. A Beta Reader is someone who reads an unpublished manuscript and is asked for their opinion about it. Generally speaking, a Beta Reader is not a writer. They just like to read. And generally their feed-back is about content.
An Editor is a reader as well. But an Editor is also a writer. And writers are a totally different kind of animal than a reader. An Editor is a professional. What they do is very esoteric. And frankly, after seeing the magic that Christine does to make my writing better, I have to say that they are the unsung heros of books. 90% of Christine’s feed-back has nothing to do with content. Instead, it has everything to do with the technical side of writing.
A reader may sense that something isn’t quite right in a manuscript, but not know precisely what that is. But an Editor will know exactly what’s wrong. And not just that, but also know how to fix it.
Put it this way- would you bring in 20 home-owner, weekend fix-it men to repair a problem with your pipes or a Professional Plumber?
That, and I would never send out an unpublished manuscript of mine to 20 people. I have 3 Beta Readers on my Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price team. I trust each of them. Can anyone say they know 20 people well enough and trust each one so nothing in the way of theft or plagiarism would ever happen?
Maybe the person expressing that opinion never worked with a great Editor. If they did, they would never say that a bunch of Beta Readers could replace one Editor. It’s been my good fortune to be associated with Christine, one kick-ass Editor. I couldn’t have done all of this without her.
That, and Hadley likes Christine. So I have to be nice to my Editor. Generally speaking you don’t want to make a habit of annoying the Vampire Hadley Price. Or your Editor, for that matter…