Using an editor definitely takes a strong personality as a writer. I’ve been asked about using an editor on a number of occasions, and I believe they are very useful if you know how to take their input. First and foremost, editors are not emotionally tied to your book. Therefore, they look for things that don’t work in the story, or don’t help move the plot along, or segments of the story that are repetitive, unnecessary, or completely out of place.
I had three difficult decisions to make subsequent to my editor’s review of Unrelenting Nightmare. The first was regarding Nomed, the antagonist in the story, who is a very cruel and ruthless person. David, my editor, told me I had to help the readers understand why Nomed enjoyed killing people. He told me, “As the author, you know why Nomed kills, but readers will question his actions unless you help them understand why.” I had a difficult time figuring out how to do that. I spent hours going over possible ways, because David was right, in my mind I knew absolutely why Nomed enjoyed killing. The issue was easily fixed with nothing more than a small flashback of his childhood. David liked the addition, and so did I.
The second decision involved how the story ended. David said the ending was weak and out of line with what readers would expect and want. I had a hard time dealing with this change because the original ending followed a particular theme that I had woven into the story. I thought long and hard, but ultimately made the change. And David was right once more. The new ending works much better, and I was still able to hold the intricacies of the characters together that I’d worked so hard to develop.
And last was the title. Originally, the book was titled A Lesson in Reality, but David said that sounded more like a how-to-book than a suspense novel. I spent weeks working on a new title, going over various changes until I came up with Unrelenting Nightmare, which I like because it ties certain segments in the book together. Many people have said they also like the title; some even saying the title was what drew them over to the book-signing table.
When David was assigned to edit my book, I was told he came highly recommended because of his background. After all that we went through, I thank him for all his input and knowledge about what would make my story and book come alive.