Words of Encouragement from an Editor

This is part 3 of my series on “An Editor’s Comments.” These are actual comments I’ve made to clients, and are directed to their particular needs, so they are sometimes quite different than what you’ll find in a style manual or other editing book. I hope you’ll find these thoughts helpful! If you want to learn more, check out the rest of the articles in the “Editor’s Comments” section and the “Various Editor’s Tips” section in my “Writing and Editing Articles” table of contents.

Positive, Encouraging Comments

Sometimes writers hesitate about sharing their manuscript with an editor or beta readers or in a critique session at a writers’ group. A good editor, critique, or reader, though, will provide positive, encouraging comments, as well as pointing out things that need to be improved. If you are feeling nervous, read the following actual comments from an editor (yours truly). I’m sure there are equally great things about your writing, too!

(And if you are an editor or beta reader and you aren’t providing words of encouragement–it’s time to get started! There is always something positive you can say.)

So Here are Some of Those Encouraging Words!

This chapter was so intense I felt like I was shaking and about to cry by the end of it (and I don’t get those kinds of reactions easily). Well written! The emotion, especially near the end, is so strong. Yet you manage to produce the emotion without giving blow-by-blow details—and this leaves the “worst: facts to the reader’s imagination, making his or her reactions even stronger. That is definitely good writing!


After so many very tense chapters, this one brought a light-heartedness which is a nice bit of relief for the reader. This is a good thing for the reader. You provide just the right amount of levity to provide relief from the tension of the previous chapters, without allowing the reader to forget the underlying horror of the character’s life. Well done! And then–back to the terror! Oh my goodness, your writing is so REAL.


I got up early to do some editing before I have breakfast. After reading about the bacon and eggs breakfast in your story, I’m drooling! Obviously, your description was successful!


This is a pretty amazing book. You are handling very sensitive matters very … well, sensitively! I do feel this is an effective ending!


When we spoke, you mentioned that you now realize you must change names and some identifying features in your memoir to protect certain people–yet you still aim to maintain the truth of the story. I agree this is a wise decision.


You are a writer. I have seen your work so far, and am very impressed with it—and others in the writers’ group were also impressed with it when you read some of it to us. That is all the “qualification” you need as you share your personal story.


Congratulations! Your self-editing is improving by leaps and bounds. I just went ahead and fixed a few minor punctuation, spelling, and grammar issues that remain. And I made a few comments where I wasn’t sure about wording. Also, sometimes you left small words (if, of, to, etc.) out of sentences, and I added them in. But overall, what a wonderful job you are doing.


I so enjoyed reading your story! You created such a strong picture of your character without even needing to describe her appearance. I felt like she is a person/character we’ve all met and can all relate to–a universal experience, even a universal person, and yet at the same time she’s unique and appealing in her own right. Well done!


The thing is, the book has a very special appeal. The story is wonderful – but combined with those superb word pictures, it is really one of a kind!


I love your story! It’s thoughtful; it includes your sense of humour, and it could awaken realization for a lot of people about how they view those with disabilities. Thus, you are helping people to change negative attitudes and reactions and see the positives in everyone they encounter.


I’m so glad you’re still trying to write. You’ve always been an inspiration to so many other writers, young and old. Including me! (Now I’m trying to decide if I classify as the “young” category or the “old” category!)


Have you been encouraged by an editor or reader?

Share your experiences in the comments. Thank you!




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