Before you submit to an editor, or have a proofreader fix a single typo, a manuscript evaluation can strengthen your creative story line. I can help identify and resolve issues you might be having with pacing, characterization, narrative voice, style, and more. I’ll read your manuscript to get a sense of the story, then re-read with attention to the elements you wish to improve. You will then be provided with an evaluation letter outlining my suggestions with the encouragement you deserve to see your words come to life.
A developmental edit is also known as a substantive edit. As your editor, I’d work side by side with you as you develop your story lines. I’m here as a sounding board to cheer you on towards “The End.” Or is it “To be continued…”? Think of this stage of editing as big picture work. Compare it to a home renovation…this is where walls get moved, plumbing re-routed, and perhaps a wing is added. In your manuscript, it might mean moving large blocks of text, re-ordering chapters, adding new information sooner, and adjusting your teases and clues throughout. There’s lots of reorganizing in this stage but the goal is to help your story engage the reader from first to last page.
After a substantive edit comes a stylistic edit, which might also be called a line-by-line edit. This can be a stage all on its own, or be incorporated into a substantive or copy edit service. This is when I’d help you refine your language and word choice throughout. It’s less about the idea, and more about how that idea is conveyed. Using the house analogy again, this is when you paint new colours on the walls and change up the throw pillows to suit your style. Do this before worrying about the copy edit. There’s no point stressing over spelling and punctuation if you’re adjusting vocabulary and sentence structure anyway.
Here’s where you start to get into the nitty-gritty. During a copy edit, I look for grammar, spelling, punctuation, and other mechanics of style. I also pay attention to consistency and continuity. I’ll ask you if you have a preferred dictionary or style guide. At this stage, I sometimes catch other things missed in earlier edits and will query you about it. Once the edit is complete, I send you a Word document with tracked changes for you to accept, a memo regarding any issues I found, and a style sheet for you to use with the rest of your publishing team.
Hurray! You’ve reached the stage where your manuscript or written copy is ready to send to the printer! Or is it? Time to call the proofreader! Even if you’re working with a graphic designer or copyeditor, it’s crucial to have a second set of eyes proofread your project. Save yourself some embarrassment; I bet these people wish they’d hired a proofreader. I’ll review your work line by line, noting any typographical, grammatical, or formatting issues using conventional style guides. Sure, I’ll mark it up with red lines, but it’s a good thing! I means I’ve spotted the errors instead of your readers. I work with MS Word documents, Google Docs, PDFs, or hard copies.