Editing—Why Bother?

Lynel WashingtonLet’s be real! No one wants to hear that his or her self-determined work of art is subpar. That is understandable, but tough skin is essential if you are serious about producing an above-average product. Many authors are hesitant to invest in all three stages of editing. However, it’s vital that authors recognize the importance of each step in the process. The road to becoming a successful author is dependent upon one’s adherence to this mandate. Be sure to seek professional editing services, not close friends or family members who love to read your projects. Your “baby” deserves to be cared for by an objective experienced eye. The purpose of professional editing is to strengthen the content and minimize the flaws that exist within your manuscript after the cycle of self-editing, rewriting, receiving feedback from a critique group and more rewriting has been completed.

The following brief summary illustrates a few main purposes of each editing method.

The first priority is to acquire a developmental editor who will work side-by-side with you to:

  • Explain what works in the manuscript and what doesn’t
  • Point out areas in which the story does not make sense and inconsistency issues
  • Ensure that the plot is well-defined
  • Determine if the characters’ motivations line up with the characters’ personalities, feelings, thoughts and actions
  • Evaluate the Point of View’s validity throughout the document
  • Check that the showing of the characters’ actions is not overshadowed by an exhausting amount of telling
  • Assist in the proper set-up of dialogue and paragraph formation
  • Flag inconsistencies in setting and descriptions
  • Establish proper pacing and conflict resolution
  • Eliminate aspects of the manuscript that are not true to its established genre
  • Reorganize, add or remove scenes as needed
  • Provide guidance on all trouble areas

Once that detailed assessment has been completed and all of the necessary changes have been entered, seek out a copy editor skilled in the fine art of:

  • Sentence structure
  • Word reduction
  • Spelling
  • Grammar
  • Punctuation
  • Reducing redundancy
  • Improving the flow of the text

Naturally, one would assume that the aforementioned steps are enough to guarantee a fine-tuned manuscript, but that is not the case. The editing process does not stop there. A proofreader is the essential missing link in this equation. What can a proofreader offer that the developmental editor and copy editor cannot? The proofreader serves as the final official set of eyes on your manuscript. He/she is the polisher, so to speak. The one who is there to add in that missing punctuation, forgotten word or two or three. And seal any loose ends—misspellings, misconstrued character names or minor formatting issues.

In essence, no stage should be skipped. The developmental editor, copy editor and proofreader are key participants in the transition from a mediocre effort to a job well-done.

Lynel Washington

Don’t have a copy of Become A Successful Author? What are you waiting for? Become A Successful Author covers everything from branding to writing to editing to formatting and uploading electronic and print books to marketing and so much more. Your time is money. Look at all the time, thus money, you’ll save by ending your search for answers: Purchase Become A Successful Author (eBook) from: Amazon (US), Amazon (UK), Barnes & Noble

7 thoughts on “Editing—Why Bother?

    1. Lynel

      Yes, Linda, you are absolutely correct. So many authors think that all editors are able to perform every task of editing. However, we understand that is not the case. A dentist, even though he’s known as Dr. Smith, does not have the skills to operate on my eyes, if need be. Same goes for editing.

  1. Tamara

    Thank you Lynel for posting this! Editing is very necessary for the literary world. It is a step that we can’t skip. I’m so glad that you finally posted on this. Please keep posting editing tips for us.

Comments are closed.