Writers Still Need Editors

A writing tip from Debra Ginsberg

Despite the perpetual moaning about the sorry state of print and publishing (some of it well-founded, alas), it is still a very exciting time to be a writer. There are many opportunities for writers to be published now that didn’t exist even a few years ago. No longer stigmatized, self-publishing has gone mainstream, offering writers a dynamic and targeted avenue to reach their audience. Writers can now do for themselves almost everything that traditional publishers provided. Almost.

Writers still need editors. And by need I mean must have. There may be writers out there who have the superhuman ability to create enough distance between themselves and their own work to edit themselves effectively, but I have never met one. No matter how gifted, a surgeon cannot (or at least, shouldn’t) operate on herself. Nor can a writer, no matter how polished a draft he has created. Even comments from outside readers, whether they are family, friends, or colleagues, cannot take the place of an objective professional editor, no matter how helpful they may seem. A skilled editor can take a manuscript from shaky to solid, from mediocre to good, and from good to better. And after all the solitary sweat and toil that goes into creating a work, having it edited feels like a reward. Editing is not only a critical part of the process, but something you owe yourself.

Debra Ginsberg is the author of the critically acclaimed and best-selling memoirs, Waiting: The True Confessions of a Waitress, Raising Blaze: A Mother and Son’s Long, Strange Journey Into Autism, and About My Sisters. She is also the author of four novels; Blind Submission, The Grift (a New York Times Notable Book for 2008 and winner of the SCIBA Mystery Award), The Neighbors Are Watching, and What the Heart Remembers. A publishing industry professional since 1992, Ginsberg has edited several books (both fiction and nonfiction), reviewed books for The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Washington Post Book World, and Shelf Awareness, and has contributed several pieces to NPR’s “All Things Considered.” More information can be found at www.debraginsberg.com.

When young Eden Harrison receives a heart transplant from an unknown donor, her seemingly charmed life falls apart. Haunted by dreams of people and places she doesn’t recognize, Eden is convinced that her new heart carries the memories of its original owner. Eden leaves her old life behind as she is mysteriously drawn to the city of San Diego.

There, Eden becomes fast friends with Darcy, a young woman recently widowed by Peter, her wealthy, much older husband. But Darcy is unsettled by her inability to mourn, and more unsettled by recurring thoughts of Adam, a young musician she was having an affair with—who has suddenly vanished.

Yet, the more Eden learns about Darcy, the more she realizes that all is not as it seems, and she begins to suspect foul play behind Peter's and Adam’s fates. As the tension around them escalates, Eden’s mysterious dreams become more and more frequent. Can Eden listen to what her heart is trying to tell her before it is silenced forever?

Click on the cover to visit the book's Amazon page.

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