Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Know What You Want Part 3

What Do You Expect? 

Writers, chime in. This series is a conversation. That means I'm not the only one doing the talking. I want to hear from you along the way, whether it is a question, disagreement or your experience with the topic at hand.

I'd like to start this dialog by asking. "If you were to send your completed manuscript to a freelance copyeditor today, what would you expect him or her to do?" Please leave your comments below.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Know What You Want Part 2

There was a day when typesetters assembled print plates letter by letter in order to print a book. Today is a digital world. If a spelling error exists in the electronic file, it will exist on the printed page. Who is responsible for finding that kind of error?

Many people think editing and proofreading are one and the same, but they are not. In the scenario described above, it is the work of the proofreader to find those pesky mistakes. Yes, some of the tasks of editing and proofreading can overlap, but in the process of publication, proofreading comes after editing.

A proofreader identifies surface errors of a manuscript such as misspelled words, incorrect punctuation, mistakes in grammar and errors in fact. It is not the proofreader’s job to tell you “use stronger verbs,” “this passage is confusing,” “there’s no take-away value for the reader.” A proofreader does not revise content.

The skills required for proofreading are different than those required to edit. Do not make the assumption that proofreaders are also good editors or that editors are equally adept at proofreading. These differences are why the expense of hiring a proofreader is less than that of a copyeditor. If you’re weak in these areas, invest in a proofreader.  

Later this week, we’ll dive in to the complexities of editing. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Know What You Want - Part 1

As a writer it is tempting to believe as I revise my work that I can spot any errors I've made. But let me tell you, I'm so close to the words I can only see the letters! There is so much more to a well written manuscript than the mechanics of spelling, grammar, and syntax. Does your story flow smoothly, are there inconsistencies in fact or tone, are you shifting POV in mid-paragraph, is your message clear?

More than once in books on writing I've read that I should have an editor edit my manuscript before I send it to a publisher or agent. Yikes! That means investing money in my book along with all those midnight hours I spent writing it. But that investment could mean the difference between my novel getting accepted or rejected.

Before I make an investment like that, I want to know what I am going to get for my money. (I don't buy a book without first looking at the Table of Contents.) The Know What You Want Series is designed to give you a deeper look at what an editor can do for you. In the coming weeks, we're going to look at what copy editing is and isn't, mechanics, content, levels of editing, and more. My goal is to give you a better understanding of the work of editing so when you send your WIP for correction you'll know exactly what you want from the editor. And you'll feel more comfortable about those hard-earned dollars you are spending for it.

Until next week...

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Change is Coming

Okay, friends and fans, I admit it's been way too long since I posted anything here. My apologies.

2012 has brought a new outlook and new opportunities, and I'm excited. Though I haven't been posting, I have been ruminating on topics and improvements. The ideas are flowing and in the coming days I'll begin a series on editing called "Know What You Want." Also ahead are workshop downloads and webinars, some free, some for a minimal fee.

So pull out your WIP and be prepared to whip it into shape for publication.

Until then...