Last week, I shared a few thoughts on how I edit manuscripts very little, if at all. But rest assured, when you work with me, you are not alone.
Using definitions of different types of editing offered by Steve Laube, I’ll explain my process over the next two blog posts.
If developmental editing, that means someone “fixing” the story.
Like most writers, I call this “brainstorming” with authors. When an author’s been working with me for some time, I’m always happy to help them get unstuck. How to move the plot forward? What should happen? When and why? During this process, I’ll always, always, always say that the author never has to take my suggestions. And I mean that. In fact, I often hope they don’t because I’m thinking out loud. Not every recommendation would work, no matter what. Yet even the nuttiest ideas can make an author think–of something better!
As for new submissions, the most common change I tend to suggest is to bring the conflict to the forefront early. Readers want to know what will get them interested and keep them intrigued with the plot. We want to enthrall them early and keep them with the story until the end!
If copy editing, that means someone “fixing” the grammar.
Since most authors have access to both free and paid grammar computer programs, grammar worries should be minor. However, since no author is immune from the occasional grammar error, typos, corrections that didn’t take, or computer glitches, the copy edit is necessary. Also, consider that style guides can vary from publisher to publisher, so two ways of approaching, for example, commas, can be correct. The wise author understands the publisher’s guidelines rule.
Next time, we’ll talk about the fascinating world of line editing!