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I may have mentioned in my first blog post that I had entered a competition back in 2011 for a story with an apocalyptic theme run by Samhain Publishing. I had come to the competition late and dashed off 24k words in 6 weeks. Even when submitting it, I knew I wasn’t quite ready but I had run out of time at that point and had to let the work succeed or fail on its (then) current merits. It was ultimately rejected and so it languished unread on my hard drive for the last three years.

Until I found this website: http://www.editingforauthors.com

They offer a free sample edit, so I took them up on it. I got in touch and got a friendly note back looking for the first ten pages of my apocalyptic work for review. I duly acceded to this request and then awaited their feedback.

It took one week, during which time I bit my nails to the quick, worrying that my work was so appalling that the editors were racking their brains trying to think of nice ways to tell me that I suck.

What I got back, however, was a really professional edit on my prologue accompanied by a note with a few salient suggestions on what might improve the work. Basically I received some realistic and very helpful comments. Certainly nothing I disagreed with anyway!

It was a revelatory moment for me, truth be told. I had some doubts about my writing, wondering if it was just pure rubbish with no merit whatsoever. But getting this sample edit done has given me the confidence to go on. I was told I had ‘clean’ writing, which I assume means that my work is not littered with spelling and grammar errors. Plus they really liked my apocalyptic idea, so I was quite chuffed with that!

I’ll work on their suggestions and then send them the full manuscript for an overhaul, the charge is a very reasonable $0.017 a word (paid in instalments) and I think they’re well worth it going by the sample.

So, the moral of the story is that sometimes it’s worth getting an objective outside opinion on your work. It can give you the courage to keep going when you’re plagued by self doubt.

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