I’ve known since I was twelve that I was meant to write. That’s when I finished my first short book. After that I single mindedly threw myself into my studies, trying to learn grammar, spelling and punctuation, trying to learn creative writing techniques. Now, I’m not going to lie and say I’m some kind of literary expert. I make as many grammar and punctuation errors as the next person. I’m always learning. Even after four years of college (with a degree in English), I still have a lot to learn. When I finished my first book, “Wolf of the Past,” I thought I had a pretty good handle on my editing. I went through my book hundreds of times and thought it was close to perfection. Well, that’s why it’s always good to have someone else look at your work. After you’ve spent months or even years working on a scene, you stop reading the words and just read what you know you meant. You miss a lot. My publisher for that book asked if I wanted to have an editor look at it, but I wanted to be published, and that would have pushed back the publication date by months or even longer. Besides, I thought it was gold, so I said, “no.” Then I got my first hard copy of the book. Funny how reading something in print, in book format, instead of on a computer screen or on a computer printout can make all the difference. For the first time in years, I sat down and just read my book cover to cover. Much to my disappointment, I found several typos. Of course, I still thought the rest of the book was basically sound, just a few unfortunate mistakes that were overlooked.
Years went by and I found an agent for my second book, “Wolf of the Present.” One of the first things my agent did when I finished my book was to run my book through a program that looked for grammar errors. They found enough to recommend I work with a critiquer before I went any further. I didn’t have a lot of money, but I was able to get a review of my first twenty pages for fairly cheap. Wow, what a wake up call that was. I felt like I was back in high school again. There were so many things I didn’t even know I was doing wrong, or that weren’t necessarily wrong but could be improved upon if I worded them another way. I studied every comment and re-edited my book with fresh eyes. When it was done, I was amazed. I was proud of my first book, but with my second book, I finally feel like a professional writer. I am not naive enough to think I have now learned all I need to know about edited my work, but I am excited to see what I can write now with my new knowledge. And I am equally excited to see where my future books will take me. It is my hope to improve with every book I write.