It’s wise for a writer to get a second opinion, especially when the only opinion is that of the writer.
For those with agents and publishers, you’ll get feedback on setting, dialogue, characters and other parts of your work that may be weak and need to be addressed in one way or another.
From my own experience, I’ve had editors who've made suggestions on how to tighten, improve, and fix problems in my manuscripts before publication. I weigh what they say, and generally make the changes unless I feel strongly about what I’m trying to convey in my story. But it’s discussed and mulled over before a final decision.
And that’s generally what I do when I’m asked to read or edit something by a friend. It’s the writer’s decision to make suggested changes. I’ll even suggest for them to get someone else’s opinion. While it should be a given, I do remind them to run spell check before sending their manuscript to a publisher or editor.
I have several friends who have contracts with big-time publishers/agents and edits aren’t suggested – they are mandated unless the author can provide a valid reason for keeping their words intact.
And if you’re self-published, you can get feedback from critique groups, fellow authors, and beta readers. (A caveat – use those folks who’ll be honest in their assessments and won’t be afraid to hurt your feelings by providing useful criticism.) (A second caveat – don’t be afraid to get your feelings hurt; learn from the experience.)
You might even want to hire a professional editor to read, review and scrutinize your work before publication. While that may be expensive for some writers, it might be the best way to get their manuscripts in shape. And you may want to get a second opinion – references – on the editor before forking over the fee.
Regardless of how you feel about changes to your precious words, it’s always good to get a second opinion – and more!
Until the next time...