After all of your hard work, you have finally finished your manuscript. Congratulations!
Now all you want to do is share it with others. Perhaps get it published? Or have your story made into a movie? You might just make a fortune!
But is it really ready?
To give your story the best chance of being picked up by publishers or studios, it is vital to engage a good editor. A great editor. But there are different types of editors offering different types of skills.
So you need them all…….perhaps?
Do you need some of them – ABSOLUTELY.
So here is a quick guide to ensure you engage the right team to help make your dreams a reality.
What Is a Developmental Edit?
After your initial draft or manuscript has been completed, rested and reviewed, it might be the right time to contact with a developmental editor. They will provide you with an in-depth critique, providing opportunities to move forwards along multiple lines.
The role of a developmental editor is to look at any big-picture issues in a manuscript. This involves reading entire piece to offer tips and advice on what the work needs as a whole.
Their evaluation will providing input on issues like:
- Characters: motivations, descriptions, development
- Strength of plot points: tensions, themes, story arc or holes
- Commercial opportunities: is the storyline too cliché? Should the emphasis of the manuscript be shifted?
After working through the issues raised in the initial evaluations, you might be looking for further support.
And there are editors who can sharpen your story further.
What Is a Structural Edit?
As you can imagine, this is an edit and editor focused on the structure of the story. While this is something that the developmental editor will touch on, this treatment is focused on the flow of the story.
The process starts with reading through the entire manuscript. From there they provide advice on pacing, engagement, and different types of structures that might suit the storytelling.
- Pace: Does the plot move forward at an appropriate pace? Should sections be moved?
- Point of View: Is this consistent? Is it confused? Is the voice authentic?
- Flow: Are there dead ends or unfulfilling tangents? How much back story serves the focus? Should things be shifted to flashbacks? How can you propel the reader quickly into the story?
Many developmental editors also provide structural editing services. Both developmental and structural edits are a crucial part of creating the best possible manuscript.
These two types of edit are crucial to work through any fundamental issues.
What Is a Copy Edit?
Before you ever go to print, it is important for your manuscript to be reviewed by a copy editor.
Be prepared for your manuscript to return to you covered in red. This type of editor will look at inconsistencies, readability, and confusing sentence structures. They aren’t focused on the content, rather they ensure grammatical errors do not interrupt your reader’s ability to enjoy your work.
Some of feedback you will cover:
- Punctuation: correct use of commas, dashes or semicolons
- Spelling: finding and correcting the typos
- Fact checking: they will verify that what you have stated is true
- Grammar: tense and sub-verb agreement ect.
At this point, a reading copy or initial print if often produced. This is used to share with beta readers for feedback or a review. It may also be sent to marketing teams, illustrators ect.
What Is Proofreading?
Proof readers are the last line of defence in the editing process. Their job is to make sure no errors get through to the final manuscript.
Often proof readers work with a physical print of your book. This allows them to review any typesetting issues, bleed or captions on photographs or illustrations. They will also ensure the page numbering is correct and aligns with the Table of Contents. A proof reader will typically offer insight on the same areas that a developmental or copy editor. They act as a second set of eyes, looking at any last issues that might take away from the enjoyment of reading your work.
It IS possible for your work to be over edited.
But so many more manuscripts are set aside because they still contain some fundamental issues that would have been raised during the editing process.
I hope this guide helps you to engage the right team to support your writing journey.
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