Continue on from my last blog on edits and editors

When to look for and use an editor

Are you looking for an editor?

Wondering what you should be doing after you have completed your manuscript…

There are several things you should be doing first.

Do you use a dictionary, thesaurus, grammar book? If not – these books will and can make your writing better, especially before your manuscript sees the light of day.

To help keep costs down, go through your manuscript several times. Clean it up! Have it easy to read. Then, use editing programs such as Grammarly, WritingProAid, Perfected software, and Smart Edits software for cleaning up grammar, punctuation, spelling, replacing words, repeated sentences, extra spaces between words. Plus many other issues. There are usually free trials to these types of software. Use them, practice, and learn which one suits you better before purchasing or subscribing.

As there are many types of editors, performing different tasks which one should you use?
Okay, after you have been through your completed manuscript, place it down for a couple of weeks. Yes. Set it aside and work on something else. You need to look at your manuscript with a fresh pair of eyes. Why? You might be thinking… Simple. By setting aside your manuscript it will give your brain and thought process time to revaluate what you have written. Some paragraphs you might think… ‘What was I thinking?’ When I wrote that! So two weeks or a month later — look thoroughly through the manuscript and make any necessary changes.

Once you are happy with your manuscript. Allow some BETA readers to take a look. Ask them also if they can find typos or wrong words. (I want to paintings — I want two paintings)
Does your work flow? Do the characters make sense? Does the reader connect with the character/s?

Once the feed back arrives read through it. Do you agree? Would you make the changes? Did they come across typos etc.? Give the BETA readers a time frame. Two weeks if necessary. Some will prefer to have a mobi file, so they can read it on their ereader! Be prepared for different formats to hand over to BETA readers. If you do supply a mobi file, send it directly to the BETA reader’s kindle. Request their kindle email address, not their private every day email address.
Make all the necessary changes, then go back through your manuscript.

There are many ways to finding, selecting, and using an editor.

There are many editing practices to keep in mind. Here are some of the editor meanings.
Developmental editing
Copy editing
Line editor

Developmental editing is a thorough and in-depth review of your entire manuscript. It examines all the elements of your writing, from individual words and sentences to overall structure and style. In fiction, this edit will also address any issues related to plot and characterization. Good developmental editing will target your audience in mind and assess your work in relation to industry standards and expectations. Only once your manuscript has been revised, reshaped, and developed will it be ready for a copy edit and proofread.

Copy editing some will say it is the act of fine-tuning a manuscript/book’s text. A copy edit will generally address grammatical or punctuation errors, incorrect facts, anomalies, inconsistencies and glaring typos. Overall, The purpose of copy editing is to ensure that the language supports the writer’s intent — while also creating the most readable version of their book. Professional copy editors can make sure your manuscript isn’t riddled with bad grammar, spelling mistakes, or glaring inconsistencies. They won’t enter into big-picture issues such as characterization, plot or pacing; instead, they will go through the manuscript line by line and focus on all the little things you might not have thought about. They’ll catch scenes in which your antagonist is wearing sunglasses and spectacles at the same time. They’ll save your tone and style from unintentionally wild shifts between sections. They’ll pull your book together page by page. Just remember any editor will change your manuscript, they may improve it, they may not. It is up to you if you agree with their changes. Always use word doc and have the TRACKING turned on. And as I have previously state check your manuscript with editing software several times to remove unnecessary punctuation etc. Also double make sure to fact check your writing before sending to an editor.

Line Editor – A line edit addresses the creative content, writing style, and language use at the sentence and paragraph level. But the purpose of a line edit is not to comb your manuscript for errors – rather, a line edit focuses on the way you use language to communicate your story to the reader. Is your language clear, fluid, and pleasurable to read? Does it convey a sense of atmosphere, emotion, and tone? Do the words you’ve chosen convey a precise meaning, or are you using broad generalizations and clichés?

An editor may draw your attention to:
Words or sentences that are extraneous or overused.
Run-on sentences.
Redundancies from repeating the same information in different ways.
Dialogue or paragraphs that can be tightened.
Scenes where the action is confusing or the author’s meaning is unclear due to bad transitions.
Tonal shifts and unnatural phrasing.
Passages that don’t read well due to bland language use.
Confusing narrative digressions.
Changes that can be made to improve the pacing of a passage.
Words or phrases that may clarify or enhance your meaning.
So basically – Expect your editor to tell you about parts of the manuscript they have discovered – Repetitive errors – Phrasing – Incorrect words/punctuation – Multiple paragraphs starting with same word – Unvarying sentence construction. As I’ve state editing software can pick up on some of these, so keep that in mind.

The purpose of working with a general editor in this way is not just to improve your current manuscript, but to give you the creative tools to become a better writer in ways you can carry with you to future projects. Certain editors might do several tasks in one. Always ask what they can and will do.

Working with a proofreader is the final stage of the editing process. To ensure your book is ready to be formatted and turned into the digital files for ebook and or print book. A proofreader will step in and double-check everything. They’ll make sure that your book is free from spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, and other issues that could spoil a reader’s enjoyment of your writing. A professional proofreader not only has a keen eye for detail, but a tried-and-true method for spotting every minor error in your text, from missing commas to misused homophones. They’ll also keep your proof free from typographical and layout issues, such as the wrong typeface in one of your chapter headings, or awkwardly spaced lines within the text. Essentially, a proofreader should have the attention of a devoted reader and the sharp mind of an editor — seeing everything, missing nothing. 
I would prefer to send my book/manuscript back to the BETA readers and see if they can spot any typos, then I would have manuscript formatted. A formatter is the one who sets out the book and how it looks. Why double up on paying someone money when there is no need! I tend to go through my book baby as an ebook, and read it thoroughly. I am amazed what I pick up just by reading it in another format. Some authors also say to read it out loud. Does it make sense when reading out loud. I also try to use while in word doc the feature to read out loud. Even try going from line to line…maybe even backwards to pick up typos and mistakes.

The comma splice – avoid using it. It is not your friend. With today’s manuscripts, keep in mind the audio version, which will eventually become the norm for tomorrow’s books.

If you do not like specific words, then do not use them yourself! A good editor will not use the comma splice. Let the editor know your likes and dislikes.

There will be some overlap between the work of a general editor and a copyeditor. Most developmental editors will point out technical errors or logical inconsistencies when they jump out, because they’re trying to make your writing better, and because editors tend to be perfectionists by disposition (guilty as charged!). But it is not the specific purpose of a line edit to comb through your prose, fix your grammar, typos, capitalize proper nouns, or change all spellings of colour to color because that is for American readers, not British/Australian readers. Remember, there is always different spelling between different countries.

Remember…If your book audience is in the USA, two pet peeves for USA-based editors the words (Altogether & Alright). Here in Australia, we use and spell these words this way, but to use them in your USA reader-based, not a good thing to do. All Together & All Right, should be used instead. Your editing has to be based for the country your book will be released in, or the main reader base. Believe or not, punctuation can also be different between counties.

This is the job of a copyeditor, and it requires a rule-based understanding of standard American English usage that traditional editors don’t have. As such, your copyedit will come with a “style sheet” that explains how these rules and principles apply to specific things in your manuscript. So while your general editor will probably not have the Chicago Manual of Style committed to memory, your copyeditor might. Thus, the Chicago Manual of Style, is another book to keep on your shelf and use!

Please remember! There is one other reason that line editing and copy editing are not the same: copy editing should always come after line edit, never at the same time or before. The page-by-page, sentence-by-sentence content of your manuscript should be completely finalized before being fine-tuned on the level of a copyedit. Because what is the point of spending time (and money) proofreading portions of an early draft that might be significantly altered, or even completely cut, by the time the final draft rolls around? Another reason why I have mentioned going back to your BETA readers!

The wording – Try and – it should be – Try to
Write out numbers one to one hundred; 101 and above, use numerals.

So basically – Expect your editor to tell you about parts of the manuscript they have discovered – Repetitive errors – Phrasing – Incorrect words/punctuation – Multiple paragraphs starting with same word – Unvarying sentence construction. Try to learn your mistakes.

Keep in mind if you had used dictation, chances are it is going to insert errors. Editors will expect you to find those – Site Vs sight. There are many others – There, their, too, to, would, wood, etc.,. The list is long.

He nods his head – he nodded. There are many sentences like this. Try to remember that you do not require the extra words. Don’t even get me started on – ‘He flew through the air.’ Really…! Do you fly in water, mud? There are just some sentences where you do not have to add the extra words.

Punctuation –  No commas or hyphens between hours and minutes, feet and inches, pounds and ounces, and dollars and cents that are spelled out. If the meaning is unclear, rewrite.

When you are creating your manuscript, please remember when inserting the dialogue it does not need to start at the very beginning of a conversation. Instead, you can start the dialogue in the middle of the action. If necessary, you can use exposition to relay the start of the conversation. It’s easy to let your characters ramble on and on. Yes, I can be bad for doing this while I type. But don’t allow dialogue to hijack your novel. Over a (Print Book) page of only dialogue is not good. You will need to break it up with action, and story.
Your dialogue should be the most edited part of your story. Remember that dialogue shouldn’t mimic real life exactly.

Instead, it should resemble a realistic conversation minus all of the non necessary parts that we often forget when we’re recalling a conversation in our minds. But, and I do mean but, do not lose your character. They have their own way of speaking. If you allow your characters to be transformed (by an editor) and their dialogue edited beyond what you prefer to have, the characters will start to resemble one another, and the reader will not be able to distinguish between characters. Each character must have their own voice. Mannerisms, style, hopes, dreams, and annoying habits.

Make sure your facts are correct. Do you have any historic facts in your book? Describing a real town or place? Weapons…guns, knives, swords. A good editor will also check this and bring it to your attention if you have stated one thing and it is actually incorrect. Otherwise, your readers will come down on you like a ton of bricks, and your reviews will suffer.

So, are you confused yet? Is your mind overloaded?

Some interesting tips and tricks to think about.

Surely it must be cuppa time?

Always ask other authors regarding editors. What type of charges, if the editor mainly works in fiction, romance, horror, they have their own genre they work in. There are also different variety of editors. Which one do you require? Some editors might cover two fields of editing not just one. Can you pick one editor and use your BETA readers to help cut costs? It is up to you how to handle the editing process. Another way to finding an editor is via a college. Are there any students learning the field of editing? Approach them. They need the practice and they might not charge you at all. You could always mention them in your acknowledgements in your book – free advertising.

Ask for samples of the editors work also. Plus, send them the first chapter of your manuscript. The editor will need to know if you are a good fit for them, and you need to see what they can do and if they are a good fit for you! Picking an Editor who is super cheap is not always a good thing. The old saying – “You get what you pay for!” Also the most expensive quote for an Editor is not always the best way to pick an experienced and well sort after editor. Do your home work and check around. I have been burnt, before. Someone who was classing themselves off as a qualified Editor, was nothing more than an author who wanted a side income. Anyone can set there word doc settings high to pick up spelling mistakes, and grammar. Using Grammarly and WritingProAid, also would have been cheaper and more helpful to me, than obtaining and using this person as an editor. Mind you this individual had came to me with several author recommendations. Authors I had dealt with in the past. So you never know, what you are going to get. Do more home work. Use an editing software, use the different books to assist you, before approaching an editor.

Always ask questions. If you are not comfortable with an editor, change to another one until you connect with one another. Remember it is your money and book baby.

Good luck

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