“We edit your words, your writing, your sentences and paragraphs… but never your voice.”
― Rogena Mitchell-Jones
Editing is the process in which a manuscript is modified, corrected and polished thoroughly. It is the process of correcting and polishing the manuscript in order to make it stand out.
I have been working as the Editor-In-Chief (English Language) at a local Indian publishing house for more than 4 years and my speciality is Editing of Fiction and Creative Non-Fiction works.
In literature, there are different types of editing depending upon the work that needs to be done on an individual manuscript. It is subjective, depending upon what exactly is lacking or needs improvement regarding the overall quality of the individual manuscript. For example, in some manuscripts, prose needs tightening, whereas in the other the overall plot-structure needs to be fixed, or in some, the scenes are not executed well or the dialogues are lacking in quality, and so on. So the first job of an editor is to determine (based on the sample chapters they are provided by the writer) is to determine which kind of editing does their work needs.
Types Of Editing
Editing – In the overall sense of the word
Editing involves minor changes that polish your manuscript technically by focusing on the sentence structure, punctuations, spelling mistakes, typos, grammatical errors, pointing out mistakes in the already revised text. While editing, the overall story remains the same.
Here, ‘fixing’ the manuscript’s structure, as well as the overall plot, is the priority.
Substantive editing considers a work’s organisation and presentation. It involves tightening and clarifying at a chapter, scene, paragraph, and sentence level.
Unlike developmental editing, which covers the big-picture issues and deep-level restructuring, substantive editing deals with the actual prose. Substantive editing is sometimes referred to as line editing and can also be confused with developmental editing. Always check with your editor and put in writing what his or her services cover, regardless of the term used.
The developmental editor looks deeply at the organisation and strength of a book. Think big picture. The editor considers everything from pacing to characters, point of view, tense, plot, subplots, and dialogue. Weak links are exposed and questioned. The editor scrutinises order, flow, and consistency.
They ask questions such as: Is this the right number of chapters? Are the chapters and paragraphs in the right order? Are there any places in the book where the pacing lags? Is there a hole in the information or story presented? Are the characters likeable? Developmental editing considers all the aspects of a manuscript that make the book readable and enjoyable.
Mechanical editing refers to the application of a particular style, such as The Chicago Manual of Style or Associated Press (AP) Style. The editor looks at punctuation, capitalisation, spelling, abbreviations, and any other style rules.
Mechanical editing is sometimes included in copyediting
Line editing is often used interchangeably with the term copyediting. However, when it is distinguished from copyediting, it refers to a unique edit that falls between copyediting and developmental editing in intensity. In line editing, the editor looks at your book line by line and analyses each and every sentence.
The editor considers word choice and the power and meaning of a sentence. The editor considers the syntax and whether a sentence needs to be trimmed or tightened. Line editing helps in making the prose sing.
Copyediting, commonly known as line editing, is a light form of editing that lends a professional polish to a book. The editor reviews your work, fixing any mechanical errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
Copyediting is the least-expensive version of editing. Some professionals divide copyediting and line editing into two separate edits, copyediting being the lighter, grammar-only edit, and line editing being a more intense look at each sentence’s meaning.
Question: I’ve finished writing my manuscript, can I send it for editing?
Answer: Yes, but only if you’ve worked on your manuscript for at least 4-5 drafts and have thoroughly revised as well as edited it, to the best of your capability. If you send a half-baked manuscript, then it’ll only end up wasting your money and time. Also, it is advisable that you first get a beta reading done and then make changes in your manuscript and then proceed with the thought of editing.
Question: How can I decide which type of editing my manuscript needs?
Answer: If you are a veteran writer (you’ve written more than 2-3 books), you may already know exactly which type of editing service(s) you need.
If you are a new writer then the combination that is generally suggested is – Substantive editing or developmental editing and copy editing. The decision may vary from person to person and even on one’s budget.
If you are not sure, then simply go along with what the I suggest based on the sample chapters of your manuscript that you will be providing me for the quote.
No matter the case, once I read through he sample chapters, I always suggest what type of editing the manuscript needs, so rest assured, I will be suggesting it based on your writing and story.
Question: What are Editing Rounds? How many Rounds will my manuscript need?
Answer: Editing is done in rounds – first I will read through your book, multiple times, and mark all the places that need change and the changes themselves, along with highlighting of all the issues with the story, concept, plot structure, language, voice, writing, pacing, characterisation, exposition, issues with dialogues, plot holes, linearity of plot, believability, readability, etc. The first round is the most intensive round of editing and takes the longest time because the main editing is done in the first round. Once I am done with the editing, I will be sending you the manuscript in two separate files – one will be your manuscript marked with all changes and one in the form of a repot. Then you will have to read them both and make changes accordingly to that manuscript.
Once you are done, you will send the manuscript back to me with the revisions and I will then begin round two. This will again involve multiple readings of your manuscript and then the edits in the revised draft.
This will continue till the manuscript doesn’t need anymore changes.
The number of editing rounds will depend on your manuscript. Generally it takes 3-4 rounds for editing a manuscript (more if need be.)
Question: How long does the process of editing takes?
Answer: Anywhere between 2 to 6 months. It depends on how long your book is and how long you take to revise the manuscript after each round.
Question: What are slots?
Answer: Editing is a long process and takes as much commitment from he writers as it does from the editor. I edit only one manuscript at a time, therefore I accept only one editing project every 3 months (unless I am busy with another editing project.) You can pick a slot of your choice from the available ones.
Question: How can I request a quote for my manuscript’s editing?
Answer: Send me an email with the following details of your manuscript:
– Name of your manuscript
– Total Word Count
– Short synopsis
– First 3 chapters of your manuscript (please include the prologue if your manuscript has one)
I will revert within 48 hrs with the quote and slot availability.
One of the finest editors we’ve worked with. She is thorough, relentless and highly driven while working on the editing projects while at the same time respects the vision of the author as well as the publisher. Her communication is fantastic and the results are great.
Director, Citrus Publishers
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