Friday, January 27, 2012

Working with an Editor ~ Part II

Working with an Editor ~ Part II

I’m going to say the following again because it is important and because I can :-)   Having your work edited by someone OTHER THAN YOU is a necessary evil because you won’t see your writing errors – you are too close to your story and far too familiar with what the words should say to notice, in some cases, what they do say. You’re just going to have to trust me on this one!

On Monday, we examined some common misunderstandings about editors and we are going to finish today by looking at some questions you may want to ask of a perspective editor and for those of you that still think you can do it all on your own, I will give you a checklist of things to look for when editing your book:

1.     What type of editing services do they offer?

2.     What fees do they charge?

3.     When are fees due (up front, upon completion of work)?

4.     How long will it take for them to edit your book?

5.     How much control do you still have with edited content?

6.     What type of books do they read in their spare time?

7.     What kind of books have they edited?

8.     How are they with meeting deadlines?

9.     What format does your book have to be in for editing purposes?

10. Can they provide references?

For those of you that still think you can be your own editor, I don’t agree but can’t stop you so here is an editing checklist of things you should look for and consider:

1.     Does your story have a good hook?

2.     Is there a prologue and do you really need it? Try reading the story without it and see if it makes a difference.

3.     Do you consistently stay in 1st, 2nd or 3rd person?

4.     Have you balanced your writing enough between action, dialogue and narrative summary?

5.     Does the action have a purpose and does it move the story forward in a believable way?

6.     Have you, in any part of your story, drifted off into a realm that doesn’t fit with the rest of the story?

7.     Are your plot twists feasible and believable?

8.     Does your plot and all of your subplots become resolved by the end of the story?

9.     Is your dialogue necessary to move the story forward? Is it advancing the plot?

10. Did you manage to keep your characters in character and are they true to their character arc?

11. Does the protagonist of your story have a clear character arc?

12. Does your story engage a reader’s senses through descriptions that allow the reader to get a sense of the setting and to visualize characters?

13. Have you shown your readers what is happening instead of telling them?

14. Does each chapter or scene stay in a single point of view?

15. Check, double-check and triple-check your story for spelling, grammar, and punctuation!

Happy writing and editing everyone!


1 comment:

Laura Lee Scott said...

Great food for thought! I am currently having a book I wrote ("co-authoring" w/ a client) edited by someone I don't know. As this is the client's choice, I am stuck with it, but am hoping that, as you so eloquently put it, this step is a necessary evil. Just wish I had more ability to ask those questions of her! Thanks for at least reminding me of the need for fresh eyes--even if they belong to a stranger!