What is editing?
The written word
It may not be a fascinating subject for everyone but good writing skills are so important in this age of mass communication. So I thought I would share some information about the ultimate group of word-lovers and how they can help turn good words into great words.
Editors – What do they do?
Have you ever wondered what editors do? There are many types of editors and we all share a common set of skills but here I am referring to the specialised field of fiction book editors.
Editors look at a manuscript from a reader’s point of view and are often the first set of impartial eyes on a written project. Authors are too closely involved with their plot and characters to see the problems with their work – and rightly so. The creative process should not be interrupted by the mechanics of the English language. And that is why writers need editors.
Editors have been described as the invisible menders. We look for weaknesses in a manuscript and offer suggestions to improve a writer’s work so that it is the best it can possibly be, before it is published or sent to a publisher for consideration. The sorts of questions we ask when editing are: is the language and style used suitable for the intended audience and consistent throughout; is the author’s meaning clear and unambiguous; are the characters and their dialogue convincing; is grammar and spelling correct; is the manuscript free from typing errors?
There are three steps to the editing process:
Structural editing looks at the big picture and how the manuscript is put together – are all the chapters/scenes in the right place; is there unnecessary information or repetition cluttering the work; does the story unfold logically; are the characters well-rounded and convincing; will readers care about them enough to become absorbed in the story and keep reading til the end?
Copy editing is more detailed and examines each sentence to ensure clarity of expression, consistency and correct spelling, grammar and punctuation.
Proofreading is best done after the layout stage and is a final check for typing and formatting errors.
An editor can also help with the ever-changing conventions in grammar. The English language is constantly evolving. What we learned at school may not necessarily be the current thinking. Today, due to technology, it is easy to share our words with others. How do you make your words stand out from the millions of other words in print and on the internet? Hire an editor.