I believe there is a version of the 5-stage Kübler-Ross model of grief related to editing: Denial/Surprise/High Dudgeon/Fascination/Damn, I’m glad I did it.
I’ve often been told that every writer needs an editor. Of course, my grammar and syntax are impeccable, so that admonition was easy to ignore. Pay for advice that I surely didn’t need? On my budget? Really?
Of course, I was in the first stage of the model, Denial.
A writing group friend caught me up short when he said, “Writing without an editor is like playing tennis with yourself.” My second novel is in draft and is being pummeled by my writing groups. But maybe the first novel needs … help?
Finally, I decided to dip a 50-page toe in the ocean.
When the manila envelope bearing the edited product arrived, I opened it wondering why I felt a little like the moment right before I ripped the paper off a present from my certifiably loony aunt. (You never knew what was coming. When I was ten, it was a heat lamp. Just the bulb.)
This is a waste of time. He’ll only be able to argue with word choice.
First page: 4 marks. I gasped. Second page: 8. Third page: 9. Surely, he must be wrong.
Surprise threatened to become High Dudgeon.
I put the envelope aside for a couple of days and pretended to be too busy to look at the other 47 pages.
Then the fourth stage, Fascination, saved me. I don’t (well, didn’t) know the convention about single quotes, and the editor’s word choice suggestions were excellent.
Over the last several days, I have achieved the fifth stage, Damn I’m Glad I Did That. Guess I have to adjust the budget.