I perform many different levels of editing, depending on your needs: developmental editing, copy/line editing, and proofreading. In addition, I’m available as a personal writing coach. Below, I describe what each level entails.
Developmental editing is the best place for most editing projects to start because it looks at big-picture elements:
- Does the story make sense from beginning to end?
- Are there holes in the story line?
- Did you build up to the climax or just spring it on your readers?
- If you used flashbacks or foreshadowing, did you do it effectively
- Are your main characters developed well? Are they individuals?
- Do they stay true to the type of people you created them to be?
- If they change, are the changes believable?
- How do they interact with each other?
- How many conflicts do you have, and do you keep track of them throughout the story?
- Do you vary your conflicts? Are they all external or do any of your characters struggle with internal conflicts as well?
- Do the conflicts grow?
- Do the conflicts get resolved?
- Does your setting add to your story? If not, could it? Should it?
- Does your setting help set the mood?
- Does it tell your reader anything about the character(s)?
- Does it help anchor your story in time?
These are the kinds of issues I look at when I perform a developmental edit. Revisions after a developmental edit can be intensive, which is why this round should happen before any other editing takes place. Why would you want to clean up the language and ensure your grammar is right if you’re just going to cut that whole scene anyway? Or what if you’re going to add a scene (or several scenes)? Wait to perform the copy editing until after the developmental is done.
Some people refer to copy editing as line editing. The way that I work, they’re synonymous. When I copy edit, I look at every single line you’ve written for the following elements:
- Structure (both paragraph and sentence structure): Are your sentences and paragraphs put together in a way that enhances the readability of your writing and in a way that makes sense?
- Word choice: Do you overuse certain words? Do you fall back on vague, generic words when something more specific and vivid might help paint a better picture? Do you go the other way, using your thesaurus for every other word, using words no one else will understand without a dictionary?
- Grammar and mechanics: Did you punctuate your dialogue correctly? Did you spell that compound adjective right—does it need a hyphen or not? Did you confuse “there” for “their” or maybe “they’re”? Do all your subjects agree with all your verbs?
This is the round where my English language expertise really comes into play. You don’t have to know all the rules if you hire an expert who does. And yes, there are times when breaking the rules strengthens what you’re doing. But first, you have to understand the rules in order to break them well—and for the right reasons.
Your proofreading round should be the final pass before publication or submission. This is the round where remaining typos are caught and fixed, misspellings are corrected, etc. I also pay attention to consistency when I proofread to ensure that, for example, if your main character had red hair at the beginning, she still has red hair at the end (unless, of course, she dyed it). In other words, I look for all the little things that make a book look less than polished, less than professional, and I fix them.
Are you just getting started on your book and you think you would benefit from some intensive hand-holding as you write? We can do that too.
For twelve years I was an English teacher, and I enjoyed nothing more than when I had a student who was eager to learn and to hone their skills. I would be more than happy to talk to you about becoming your coach as you turn your ideas into a book. This is the most personal service I offer, and I customize each project to the needs of each individual client.