I’m thrilled to host Rebecca Montrusso, a Story Grid certified developmental editor, as a guest. Rebecca is sharing her expertise on how you can become your own story editor.
Creating a Strong Story
(Before you call in an editor)
by Rebecca Monterusso
There are a number of reasons you should write and edit your own story before hiring an editor.
First and foremost, I don’t want to take your money if I can’t help you make significant changes that will bring your workable draft closer to being finished.
Other writers self-edit themselves.
Your next drafts will be better.
You’ll better appreciate the books you read.
All that aside, how do you improve your story before sending it to an editor?
Showing your work is a necessary step. Feedback is irreplaceable. That said, you could find an editor or coach who works with beginning writers (which might seem counter-intuitive, but there are people specifically interested in that). Or, use beta-readers or family members who read a lot and might be able to help. (Though I don’t recommend that route because they could do more harm than good, it is an option if you trust the people you send your work to.)
Finally, you can use the tool at your fingertips and subscribe to Fictionary. Not only will you have access to the computational analysis, but you’ll get emails on craft to continue to teach you. Using this tool will enable you to take learning into your own hands. You’ll see your novel laid out in many different forms and learn what that means for what you’ve crafted. Then, you can act on that analysis and keep working to improve what you’ve learned. Though that doesn’t replace hiring an editor, it is a great first step to improve your first drafts immensely.
Rebecca Monterusso is a Story Grid Certified Developmental Editor, which is a fancy way to say that she helps writers learn to tell their stories better by focusing on writing, reading, living, and practicing with intention.
She spends her time traveling the world, writing whatever takes her fancy, and deconstructing the many stories she reads on her blog to better understand the craft of writing. Ultimately, she believes that stories are the only way to change the world, which makes writers mighty powerful people.
Rebecca Monterusso Workbooks
If you’re looking for a method to get that book started and written well, Rebecca has a couple of workbooks that will help you.
Practice to Improve Your Writing workbook will help you learn by doing, by actually writing. It will help you practice in the right ways so that you improve, turn writing into a habit, and story stories you want to emulate. Use it to take actionable steps towards your goals.
Write A Story in 7 Days walks writers through the steps they need to take to come up with a fully-formed story that works. It helps them get words on the page and continue to improve their understanding of craft as they learn.