I think I was born an educator. It’s the only way to explain what editing means to me and how I go about doing my job as an editor. My goal is never just to clean up a story and send the client on his or her way. My goal is to spread teachable moments throughout the editing process–through the changes I suggest and the comments I make–so that the writer will learn from those moments and not only revise the story into a stronger, better one, but will also use these lessons in future works, making those stories better in the first draft.
What I Edit
I edit novels, novellas, short stories, non-fiction book length works, articles, essays, interviews, and academic works (articles, proposals, theses, and dissertations). I don’t edit works over 200k. In regards to fiction, I have edited several genres to include mystery, chick lit, romance, Christian fiction, urban, fantasy, sci-fi, and literary. In regards to non-fiction, I have edited Christian, self-help, and memoirs, to name a few.
What I Use When I Edit
I have an arsenal of sources I use to edit; however, these are the sources that stay close to me when in the throes of a good edit.
- The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition
- Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition
- APA Manual, 6th Edition
- MLA Handbook, 7th Edition (soon to be 8th edition!)
- The Copyeditor’s Handbook: A Guide for Book Publishing and Corporate Communications, 3rd Edition
What You Can Expect from an Edit
I do a few things when I edit. We could call these things developmental editing, substantive editing, copy editing, and proofreading, but I prefer to just tell you with my own words.
First, I look at the story. If there is no story, then it doesn’t matter how well or horrible a story is written. I edit looking to make sure structure is strong, that there are well-developed characters, good dialogue, building tension, and consistency throughout, among other things. If there is a story present, then all the other things can be worked on and finessed. Although this is something I examine in all works, when a writer tells me that a book has not been edited or that he or she worries about these storytelling components, then there is a major focus in this area.
Second, I look at other ways in which the manuscript can be improved. This includes locating places where the story lags and the need for rewriting or adding to the story exists, reorganizing material in the story, the occasional rewriting of a passage, and making suggestions on how to go about doing these things. It is important for a client to know that I know s/he is the author of the work. As such, I don’t tell the client what MUST be done unless there are glaring issues and omissions. My goal is to provide suggestions and advice (once I clean the story) that will enable the client, as author, to revise/write the story s/he envisions. So, in regards to this editing, a client can expect to see many comments in the document.
Third, I look at “cleaning up” the manuscript–tackling those mechanical and grammatical issues that any manuscript will have.
Lastly, I tend to provide readerly comments throughout the manuscript. What are readerly comments? Well, I attempt to make myself the average reader for your type of work when I sit before the manuscript to edit. As I’m reading/editing, there will be moments when I feel and think things about the characters, the situations that occur in the book, and when those feelings and thoughts are very strong, I am compelled to make comments about those spots. Why? Well, one reason is it’s comedic relief for the client who has just had his or her literary baby edited. The more important reason is it’s always great to have reader feedback in those pre-publication days. By seeing what I think/feel about a character or a plot point, you can gauge that against what your intentions were as the writer and decide if there are any changes you need to make to the manuscript.
How I Edit
I prefer to edit electronically and to receive manuscripts in Word. I use both Track Changes and Comments features within Word.
Need an Edit?
If you are looking for an editor for your work, please fill out this short form. Once I receive your message, I will read and respond as soon as possible.
Manuscripts should be completed before inquiring about editorial services.
To the best of your abilities, the manuscript should be formatted correctly. If you are submitting a manuscript that is already laid out, then you may submit the manuscript as is. However, for most manuscripts, you should adhere to the following format conventions:
- 1″ margins all around
- Double-spaced throughout
- Times New Roman or Courier 12 point font
- Each chapter starting on a new page
- Paragraph indentation
- Dialogue formatting – typically new dialogue starts on its own line, indented, with quotation marks around the dialogue.
I take my editing seriously, and I take my role as teacher of the writing craft seriously.
I’ve edited many genres, from chick lit to street fiction, from erotica to mystery, from sci-fi to Christian fiction.
Let me help you make your work stand out in a crowd.
Again, if you are looking for an editor for your work, please fill out this short form.
NOTE: Editing, coaching, and manuscript evaluation are not guarantees that your work will be accepted by an agent or a publishing house. However, your writing WILL be stronger!