Victoria Zackheim, an editor herself, said that hiring a professional editor makes your writing a better piece because editors look for flow, cadence and repetitions and learning from them will make you a better writer. She’s an editor, but she hires an editor for her works. Find reviewers who will really read! Two or three dependable, honest people will do. Perry was even more adamant. “Don’t delude yourself that your final draft is ready. An editor will tell you if your skirt is caught in your knickers.” Perry has written over 70 best selling novels and she receives an editor’s red mark on every page of her final versions. “Ask for the right to review edits before publishing and check for the correct intention of feeling to ensure their edits match your voice.” If people reviewing your work are confused delete or clarify until your point is apparent to all who read it. If you can remove a scene, or a character, and the plot still makes sense—remove it permanently, even if you love it. You can re-purpose it in a different work. If you really balk, ask the editors why they want the change, chances are they are right, and you’ll find a fix.
The re-writing phase feels unending. After every submission for review, Perry receives notes like “It’s nearly there!” “One more!” “It’s coming!”
But that is the hard work; your words must say exactly what you mean. “Writing is not a hasty lunch, “ Perry advised, sounding like a British schoolteacher. “It should be a feast for the gods!”
Anne Perry and Victoria Zackheim were on tour in April 2014, promoting their latest books. They spent over three hours mentoring writers at the California Writers Club, Apple Valley branch. Their focus was on how to approach writing projects. Zackheim is an experienced editor and an author specializing in memoir and personal essays. Anne Perry is recognized as one of the world’s top 100 masters of crime and her series of detective novels are set in historical fiction.