A few days ago, my short-story writing class turned itself to peer editing.

I hate editing my own work, mostly because I can never see any of my own flaws.  (True also in life, don’t you think?)  It’s not that I think I am God’s gift to writing, although I do think I have some talent.  It’s more that I can’t be completely, and brutually honest with myself.  I’m too close.

Some people are lucky enough to have a built-in editor, e.g. a spouse.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  My husband is a wonderful advocate of my work.  He points out grammatical and structural errors, and I always find his comments helpful.  However, my dear sweet husband doesn’t want to hurt my feelings, and he can also be too much of an advocate.  Just like me, he’s too close to my writing.

I’ve tried to step away from my writing, and yes, that always helps.  A week later, I can always go back and chop up parts of my story and rearrange words and other bits.

Something from this class, however, has me thinking.  We’ve had to do three different drafts, and I know books and novelettes can go into a dozen or more drafts.  Each draft makes my short story better.  My short story has now gone through five drafts.  The first one is the actual writing.  The second, my husband took a crack at it.  The third, my professor looked at it.  The fourth, a peer.  And lastly, the final edit, my own once again.

This got me thinking of my novel.  I’m sure it will go through a process much like the one I just experienced.  But what do you do when you don’t have a professor and a peer to edit your novel?  The answer, my dear Watson, is that you create your own.

I haven’t tried out this service yet, but it looks very promising.  But an average-sized novel is about $1,000!  There is no way I can afford that.  I’m not sure if any of the links still work, but I found some “free” alternatives – groups that offer critiquing.  The down side is that you have to critique someone else’s work, too.  (I did find out in my class, though, that I make a pretty good editor.)

Since I don’t have experience with those on the list, does anyone have any recommendations?