The Rewards of Editorial Abuse

I like my editors ruthless. They get paid to pick my work apart without softening the blows.

I want salt, not sugar. Simon, not Paula.

I’ve written eight drafts of my upcoming novel, The Orphans of the Creek. It’s been through two editors and two writing mentors and at times their criticisms have been nothing short of scathing.

But that’s not necessarily a sign of bad writing. More so, it suggests a great editor.

So it was with a little trepidation that I sent my latest draft to an editor who is known for missing nothing and nit-picking everything. And after reading it for the first time, this is some of what she had to say:

…it’s a great book. I really enjoyed the story, and you honestly have probably the finest ear for dialogue out of anyone I’ve ever edited. The characters were all very believable and interacted very naturally. The story hung together well (that might not sound like a compliment, but believe me, from me it is), and you are fantastic at creating atmosphere without bogging the reader down in details. I really felt like I was standing next to the characters and seeing what they saw.”

Then she goes on to tell me that she made 650 notes for me to look at plus the general critique!

But these comments are the reward for all the editorial abuse my manuscript has endured. All writers go through it. You probably will too. How else will you ever develop your writing?

See you out there!

If you’re a writer, write. And if you’re a reader, keep reading. We need you!

Richard Todd is an author, blogger, and Social Media guy. Plus a few other things that get lost in the clutter. Visit him online at


Author: Richard S. Todd

Pro copywriter. Expressive voice artist. Award-winning public speaker.

4 thoughts on “The Rewards of Editorial Abuse”

  1. Hah! You have just emboldened me – I’m working on a non-fiction manuscript and while I LOVE the ideas the guy’s writing is pretty boggy at times. If I want to do the writer and his work credit I have to tell him what I think and give him all my suggestions, not just the straightforward ones! Hopefully he’s as gracious about criticism as you are. 🙂

    1. Hi Amy! Absolutely – you’d be doing both yourself and your client a disservice by being too soft with your editorial comments.
      Writers need a thick skin. Not scaly, but thick 🙂
      Good to hear from you!

  2. Hi LJ. These comments were after eight drafts of abuse from various editors and mentors, trust me! And these comments were also of a global scale; the notes within the body of the draft were hardly as generous.
    My ninth draft is currently being reviewed and the criticisms should hopefully be (vastly) diminished by then. Keep at it and thanks for writing!

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