Making Magic of Potatoes

Sometimes you write magic. And sometimes you write… a potato.

Potatoes aren’t all that entertaining. They sit on the table, blinking their freaky eyes at you. Sometimes they sprout. That’s… fantastic. But they’re not going to go on adventures. Potatoes just sit there.

But that’s why you need a good editor.

I’m convinced that Madelyn of the Sky is magic. I love that story. Just going through it again, I’m surprised that I was able to write something that good. That is no potato!

But now I’ve begun working on the next series of edits for my next series, Cade and the Last Starship. My editor took a look. She loves books one and six in particular. But… as she consider its story, its characters, its plots… It looks more like a potato than something magic.

Ah, but that’s why every author needs a good editor.

She’s taking this potato and turning it into french fries and latkes and lefse. I created the bare material, and she’s seeing it for the good things it could become.

Right now I’m working through her notes on book two. She noted the strong plot. Good work! But the main character, Cade… he doesn’t change at all. He’s a driver of the action, and that’s good, but he has no character arc. That’s bad.

And she’s taken the words I wrote and made some suggestions. She left notes in the appropriate places. She found a character arc that not only matches the plot, but enhances it. It fits within the grander plot of the series.

Really, I’m not writing magic. My editor is putting the magic into the potato and making it a million times tastier than it would be otherwise. In the end, this is going to be magic again.

If you’re a writer, you will benefit from finding an editor that will work with you. Yes, I’ve said it before, but I’m saying it again because I’m seeing the wonders she works right now. Listen to that editor. They want you to succeed. They’re not tearing you down.

I’ve learned to trust my editor. When she says, “This isn’t good,” it’s because it isn’t. I’ve got to be humble enough to admit that she knows what she’s talking about.

And she does know.

She can take a potato and work wonders with it.

Find yourself an editor to make magic with your potatoes.

Published by Jon

Jon lives in Kentucky with his wife and an insanity of children. (A group of children is called an insanity. Trust me.)

2 thoughts on “Making Magic of Potatoes

  1. How do you find an editor? Do you tap a trusted friend, or your spouse, someone in a writing group, or try to find some other way? I’ve asked some friends before to read through; some have had some helpful comments, while others were more “It’s good man!” But I’ve never felt like, “wow, they made this potato into French fries!!” Or “They made these fries into LOADED fries” or something! What do you think?


    1. That’s a really, really good question.

      First, I’m really blessed in that my wife is a professional editor. She was editing for other authors before she did anything for me. That also means that I have implicit trust. We’re on the same team. We didn’t have to build up trust.

      You ask where to find an editor. I usually see calls for editors in my various author groups on Facebook. IFA Authors is one such place. Wide for the Win is another.

      I’m sorry… I’ve never had to search for one, so I don’t have any words of wisdom there!


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