I've only been in London for a month, but it's time to get started. Bloomsbury meets BookMachine. Christina, Laura and Jamie shared their insights about getting into publishing. Food for thought!
The Technical Details
Have you sent your story to several beta readers and revised according to their feedback?
Has your story been developmentally edited and have all the plot twists been sorted out?
If the answers to these questions is yes, your story is ready for line and copyediting.
These services are often combined because it's difficult to draw the line between the two.
Line editing really gets into the meaning of words.
As I read the manuscript, I check if the story has been told using the most effective, gripping, meaningful words.
I ask, what words have been repeated and could be substituted with something else, something fresher, something more meaningful?
Also, I check if there any words that don't belong the in the manuscript. Over time words change meaning, and nuance is important. Has one word been confused for another?
Copyediting gets down to the nitty-gritty details and ensures the text of the manuscript is correct, consistent, clear and coherent. That means looking at the grammar, spelling, and punctuation very closely.
Are quote marks missing from dialogue? Is it Jones' or Jones's? Are thoughts in italic?
How does the Chicago Manual of Style* suggest numbers be formatted: numerals or spelled out? Does New Hart's Guide or Oxford prefer commas in lists? Has that colon been used correctly?
Copyediting addresses details that most people don't even realize exist. The beauty of copyediting is that when done well, nothing sticks out. The changes are invisible.
The text is made uniform, so that readers are able to sit back and focus on the characters, focus on the story, focus on the experience of living a day in the life in a world you created.
*I edit manuscripts so they meet publishing-industry standards by using The Chicago Manual of Style (US publishers) or New Hart’s Rules/Oxford Style Guide (UK publishers).
What does that mean? Publishers want the text to look a certain way, to follow certain rules (yes, commas, apostrophes, line spacing etc.) This is what copyediting takes care of!
The Overall Picture
Have you finished a novel but don’t know what to do with it?
If you aren't part of a writing critique group or can't find any beta readers, it can be hard to get feedback on your novel.
If that's the case, a manuscript critique is what you need.
The first step is to read the manuscript. While reading, I make notes on whatever issues jump out at me. These are points that must be revised for the novel to work.
It can be big-picture issues (head hopping, point of view, character arcs and motivation, believably) .
It can be smaller issues, (ineffective dialogue, confusing language, overwriting).
Next, I use my notes to write you an 8–10 page letter detailing the two or three major issues that could be revised for the story to be successful.
Because it's very difficult to receive a big to-do list and know where to start, I provide a suggested work plan to help guide you through the revisions.
The Big Picture
Do you feel like the story isn't working out?
Are characters unmotivated?
Is the world you built not coming off like you had hoped?
Developmental editing might be what you need.
A developmental edit is similar to a manuscript critique in that it involves reading the manuscript looking for what is going well and what isn’t going so well, but it goes far more in-depth.
I make notes on all the aspects of the craft of writing: conflict, plot (or plot holes!), structure, character motivation and development, setting and description etc.
I'm checking if the story hits or misses critical plot points. Does the story have a saggy middle? Are connections between characters and events working or falling flat?
If the manuscript suffers from "showing versus telling," ineffective dialogue, head hopping or information overload, I give suggestions and comments on ways it could be recrafted.
At the end of developmental edit, the manuscript has comments. Also I provide detailed, manuscript-specific feedback, suggestions, and solutions to all of these issues in a 20–30 page editorial report.
To help you know where to start, I provide a suggested work plan to help guide you through the revisions.
Why does the world need another book blog?
That’s a silly question, so I’ll skip it.
Why am I starting the book blog?
In 2019, I set my Goodreads Reading Challenge at fifty-two books. In hindsight, it was not a good idea. I was amazed that I actually could read fifty-two books in a year and amazed at how much I couldn't remember of all that I read.
Who is this blog for?
First of all, it's for me, to help me remember what I read.
Second, it's for writers, authors, and readers.
I read a lot and I wanted to find a way for authors to benefit from that. I find good examples of different aspects of the craft of writing to share from those books. That way you don't have to read the whole book (but you should!) if you 're just looking for quick examples.
Finally, this is also a blog for readers who aren't sure if a book is for them. I hope to give just enough information to help you decide to pick it up!
What kinds of books do you read?
I even read the US government’s IRS Tax Publications for heaven’s sake.
Do I have time to read another blog?
Yes, entries will be short. Nothing longer than 900 words. I know you don’t have a lot of time!
Will these be book reviews?
No. Plenty of other fine readers and book bloggers and vloggers are doing amazing jobs reviewing books. While I promise not to give away any spoilers, I’m not going to tell you what the book is about—the focus is only what I thought worth remembering.
That’s pretty subjective, isn’t it?
Yes, it is! However, in my daily life as an editor, I spend ninety percent of my time being objective, following style guides and rule books. I hope to be allowed an opinion and some feelings occasionally.
Why are there are other topics on this blog?
I don't live in a black hole and everything is connected!
Editing is my profession, so I read editing and writing books, and I'll share the ones I like.
Technically I work in publishing, a murky, mysterious field that authors and writers can benefit from knowing more about.
I like to be positive, so I'll only share good things about books I liked. All authors works hard on their books, and all take different advice and different routes. Liking a book is subjective. Just because I didn't like something doesn't mean I need to shout about it to the world.
Welcome to my bookshelves!
I read a lot and I hope to help authors with the craft of writing. I share good examples of difficult aspects of writing: point of view, narration, world building and more.
Occasionally I give editing tips and share insights from the world of publishing.
Posts on editing
Posts on publishing
Posts on books