Editing

Even the best writers need help. Some need help with structure. Others grammar. Some just need an accountability partner who’ll ask, “How many pages did you write this week?” Others need help getting the commas in the right place. All of us need someone to make sure we didn’t type “mantle” when we meant “mantel” — because how embarrassing is that?

Some people aren’t writers, and need help getting words out of their head and into text.

My specialty is speculative fiction, especially that written from a Christian worldview, though I also work with writers working in the general market. With more than ten years of newsroom experience, I am trained to produce prose that is clear, concise, and correct. With my fiction training, I can identify inconsistencies, point-of-view problems, and description insufficiencies.

Wherever you are on your writing journey, I’m happy to come alongside you to navigate the path and ensure that your readers get your story in its best possible form.

I am currently booked through October 2019, but if that time frame works for you, please use the contact form to e-mail me about your project.

Types of Editing

Even those of us who edit for a living can have trouble figuring out what it entails. We debate amongst ourselves what the difference is between developmental editing and substantive editing, and question where copyediting ends and line editing begins. The whole mess is even harder for the uninitiated to figure out. The lines are a bit blurry, but here’s how I define them.

Editorial Assessment

Also known as a critique or a manuscript evaluation, an assessment will let you know whether your book is ready for submission or publication. You don’t need to have a finished draft; the evaluation can be performed on a partial manuscript. To produce your evaluation, I’ll read through your manuscript and prepare a written report outlining the book’s strengths and weaknesses and offering recommendations for improvement. I may also make changes or comments in your manuscript.

Brainstorming and Coaching

Sometimes, you just need someone to bounce ideas off of. Maybe you’re stuck on a plot point for a novel, or need some good topics for your blog. Or you’ve been told you should write a book, but don’t know where to start. Start here.

Developmental Editing

Sometimes called macro editing or content editing, this stage is about bringing a manuscript into existence. We’ll look at the big picture, outlining your content and creating a structure that will ensure the work gives readers what they need in the most appropriate format. If you’ve already written a partial manuscript, the developmental edit will flesh it out and ensure it meets readers’ expectations. A developmental edit may include ghostwriting or substantive editing.

Ghostwriting

If you have a great story idea but don’t have time or training to write it all yourself, this may be the service you need. We’ll discuss your goals and what you may have in the way of worldbuilding and story notes. I’ll pick your brain and do the writing for you.

Substantive Editing

Sometimes called content editing, a substantive edit entails working on a completed manuscript. We’ll mold the content into an appropriate structure, ensuring that all the elements are in place. A substantive edit may include rewriting whole scenes or segments for clarity and concision. It can also include line editing.

Line Editing

Rather than merely fixing errors, a line editor rewrites sentences to improve readability, flow, and rhythm, as well as to eliminate wordiness and redundancies. A line edit includes copyediting.

Copyediting

A copyeditor usually has less leeway than a line editor when it comes to rewriting awkward sentences that are grammatically correct. Unless the editor and writer agree otherwise a copyedit is limited to correcting errors in spelling, punctuation, grammar, syntax, and usage. Copyediting includes what we call mechanical matters: formatting, style of footnote and bibliography citations, and style book conventions. It can also include fact checking.

Proofreading

Many people use the word proofreading to describe what we in the business call copyediting. In fact, true proofreading is done after pages are typeset, before printing or e-book distribution. It involves checking the page proofs for problems introduced during typesetting, such as bad hyphenation breaks and misaligned margins, along with spelling and punctuation errors. Proofreaders do not normally fix grammatical or factual errors unless they are really egregious.

 

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There is some overlap among line editing, copyediting, and proofreading. For example, all include taking care of pesky details like ensuring plural possessives of surnames ending in s are formed correctly.

If you’re self-publishing, ideally you will put your manuscript through most of the levels of editing. If you need to contain costs, we can combine line editing with either a substantive edit or a copyedit.

Under no circumstances skip proofreading. And don’t try to do it yourself. No one can proofread their own work. Not even those of us who edit for a living. I recommend having your book proofread by at least one person who has not seen the manuscript before. Three is better. Eight is not too many.

E-mail me to get a quote on your editing or writing project. My rates are in line with those of other freelance editors, which you can see in this chart by the Editorial Freelancers Association.