Predators and Editors
Hello aspiring authors. So, you’ve penned a novel that you're sure everyone wants to read. Hate to break it to you my lovelies but that’s the easy part. Fear not, I’m here to help sort out the chaos.
First on the agenda, decide the best course of action: proofreading, line editing, copy editing, developmental editing, and/or a manuscript assessment.
Let’s break that down:
Proofreading: catches your mistakes ensuring consistency and accuracy in grammar, spelling, punctuation, and formatting.
Line Editing: analyzes each sentence in every paragraph for word choice, structure, rhythm, syntax, power and meaning, and whether sentences need trimming so your prose can flow like a beautiful stream.
Copy Editing: a review of your work with a focus on writing mechanics and fixing spelling, grammar, and punctuation. It is a less intense scrutiny than line editing.
Developmental Editing: a deep dive into the entire book paying specific attention to structure, pace, characters, plot, subplots, dialogue, style, consistency, story and information holes, and paragraph and chapter order.
Manuscript Assessment: an overall professional critique to identify strengths and weaknesses within your story, considering structure, style, and content, without providing line edits, or scene and chapter review.
Second, and this is a biggie, find an editor and not just any editor, but one with experience and a great reputation. In my earlier days as a newbie writer, I hired an editor on the recommendation of an acquaintance, without exercising due diligence – my bad! She ended up being cuckoo-la. I won’t bore you with the gory details about how she attempted to rip my soul apart with shame and insults, or how she tried to rewrite my story to fit the narrative she had in mind, I’ll just say the entire ordeal bordered on a Fatal Attractionesque type scenario. Okay, she didn’t try to kill me, but she did stalk me on social media until I blocked her, one and done. Enough said. Read on so you can skip my mistake.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Anyone can call themselves an editor. Get ready, I’m about to scream at ya. RESEARCH! RESEARCH! RESEARCH! Then RESEARCH again!
Keep in mind, a good editor will give advice and suggestions. They will not attempt to write pretty sentences for you. It’s not their job to drastically change your story, or characters. That’s your job. Would an artist let someone else paint over their masterpiece? I think not! Some great resources to check out:
*** UPDATE: 8/24/22 THE ABOVE LINKS MAY NO LONGER BE VALID AS PREDITORS AND EDITORS MAY HAVE DISBANDED. IF THE ORGANIZATION REESTABLISHES ITSELF I WILL UPDATE AGAIN
Third: Seek clarity from the editor about the services they provide. Know exactly what you’re signing up for before you start doling out Benjamins.
Last: Keep your eye on the prize – your published novel. Yay!
Weed through the crazies and wannabe editors to find the best one for you. Fix your writing mistakes one comma and misplaced modifier at a time. Use the editing advice that makes sense. Polish those chapters so they shine. Don't let setbacks stop you from achieving your goals. Persevere through whatever obstacles get in your way and believe in yourself and your work. Remember, you may face rejection, and no after no, but it only takes one yes.