Different Kinds of Editors

Photo by Alexandru Zdrobău on UnsplashLet me start by saying that every writer needs an outside set of eyes reviewing their manuscript. In fact, we all need the assistance of a few different kinds of editors to complete a book.

Writers will sometimes try to skip the editing process. Perhaps they wish to save the money, or they don’t want to receive a critique. Personally, I’d be lost without my editors! It’s impossible for me to catch all the errors in my manuscript. I rely on those outside professional eyes to point things out to me.

A good editor will indicate the good points, along with the bad. Becoming aware of both is equally important because it helps me be a better writer. I learn through each editing experience and improve.

It’s important to recognize that there are a variety of editors. Each has a role in helping you polish your book. While you might not need to hire every different kind, you should know the different kinds of editors, so you can select the best person to help you.

Developmental Editing

This is the big picture, large-scope editing. A developmental editor will not be looking for misspelled words or misplaced commas. They probably won’t even comment on them. Rather, they will be reading your book for organization and overall presentation.

Here are some points a developmental editor will correct:

  • Problems with flow
  • Awkward dialogue
  • Poor pacing
  • Holes in the plot
  • Any inconsistencies

Expect a good developmental editor to pick apart your book for overall flaws and ask some probing questions. Most likely he will point things out you haven’t noticed because you’re too close to the work. This process should be the equivalent of a good writing course in college, because you will learn so much.

Line editing

A line editor gets her name because she looks at each line of your book, each sentence, and analyzes it to determine if it works. She will look for errors, but she will also point out when a sentence can be tightened a bit.

Here are examples of areas a line editor will work with you to fix:

  • Inconsistent verb tense
  • Overuse of a word
  • Awkward phrasing
  • Redundant words

Your line editor will work with you to make sure each sentence belongs in your book. She will help ensure your reader continues to read your book through to the end.

Copy editing

A copy editor will do a light edit on your book, giving it that polish so that it sings. He reviews your manuscript and makes sure it’s accurate, cohesive and readable. This editor is very detail-oriented and knows the various (and latest) rules of grammar. Most are trained in a few styles.

A copy editor will fix:

  • Spelling
  • Grammar
  • Punctuation
  • Factual errors
  • Blatant inconsistencies

A copy editor will find and help you repair most of the errors, but keep in mind that he won’t catch them all. You’ll need to also hire a proofreader.

Proofreading

This is the final stage in your book writing process. Just before you’re ready to publish, a proofreader will review your manuscript and give you feedback on spelling, grammar, formatting, etc. At this point, they are really looking for typos or any little detail that isn’t quite right.

If you’re self-publishing, it isn’t wise to simply hire a proofreader, as they will not help you discover errors in continuity, flow, character development or anything of substance.

Now, having delineated all these different kinds of editors, I must say that in practical use, these roles can blur a little. For instance, a line editor will sometimes throw out suggestions that technically fall into the developmental editing category. Or a proofreader will sometimes add his or her two cents about the flow of your book.

As a writer, it’s important to know which kind of editor will best assist you with your writing project. It’s easier for you to hire the best person for the job if you know what you need.

If you would like help finding an editor, please let me know.

Here are a few related articles that you might enjoy:

Character Development

Write Good Dialogue

Writing Tips: How to Avoid Distractions

When writing a book, commit to spending a few hundred hours to complete the project. That can take forever if you’re piecing together tiny increments of time, spread out over months. If you then also allow distractions to creep in, you’ll find that you will just spend your time reviewing, rather than make forward progress.

To avoid writing distractions, here are a few tips that might help:

Turn off your Wi-Fi

Unplugging from the internet will stop you from checking your email, social media feed, or what’s up with your favorite sports team every two minutes. Unless you need the internet to do research, there’s no reason to have your Wi-Fi on.

Now, if you need the internet for your word processing program, you can use an app like Freedom, which allows you to block various websites. Sometimes we all need a little help to avoid the temptation of distractions from writing.

Turn off your cell phone

When writing, we need to give ourselves a chunk of time when we won’t be disturbed. When I write and hear that familiar ping from my cell phone, politely letting me know I have a new text message, it’s hard to ignore it. Turn your cell phone ringer off (if you can). Otherwise, the temptation to check texts and voice messages might be too great. These interruptions make it difficult to complete a writing task. Even putting the phone on vibrate doesn’t fully get rid of the distraction. It’s best to turn it off.

Use the tools that are best for you

Don’t try to conform to another writer’s methods. Write in a way that’s most comfortable and productive for you. For some this might be long hand, while others prefer a word processor. There is no “right way” to write!

Find a quiet writing spot

It’s important that you discover a good, quiet, comfortable place to write. This might be in your car, in a coffee shop, a library, or a nook in your home. Or perhaps you prefer to sit propped up on your bed with lots of pillows for support.

Whatever works for you, whatever gives you the best quality word count, is best.

Eat well, sleep well, take care of yourself

It’s hard to write well when you’re tired or hungry. Exhaustion and hunger can be powerful distractions from writing. Get a good amount of sleep and eat a nourishing meal. Junk food is liable to make you tired, which will result is poor writing. If you’re fasting, your characters are likely to discuss food more than they should.

Take care of yourself. Some writers find it best to exercise before writing, as it gets the blood pumping. Others get up at the crack of dawn and drink a nice cup of coffee as they open their laptop. Bottom line, look for effective ways to boost productivity.

Prepare ahead of time

I am most eager to write a piece when I’m fully prepared and all my research is done. It’s also effective for me to end a writing session mid-scene or nonfiction segment. That’s because I know exactly where I’m going, and I can embark on the next day’s writing target with ease.

If you get carried away and complete the passage, you can still leave yourself set up for the next day. Put your notes in order and write the first paragraph before you end off.

Don’t edit as you write

Don’t edit as you write. I know that can be hard, but remember, you really need to just get words down on paper. Editing cuts into that time dramatically. Plus, it is really a waste of time. When you finish your first draft, you’ll be in a different place, and editing will be much easier. If you edit while you write, you’ll be doubling your work because you will just need to edit the piece all over again.

Every writer is different. What works for you might not work for me, but that’s OK. Find the successful actions that help you be as productive as you can be. The best measure is progress.

How many words did you write this week?

If you need a little help from a ghostwriter, please feel free to email me! We can work together to create your book!

Could PANDAS Be the Cause of the Mysterious Twitches in the Children of New York and St Louis?

There have been several reports this week of a mysterious illness, which has affected children. Two dozen high school students suddenly reported that they were suffering from uncontrollable body movements and odd speech patterns in New York. On top of that, another dozen families in St. Louis said their children had similar symptoms.

Could this be the same thing that Joshua Suthar went through?

Lori Suthar hired me to write Joshua’s Missing Peace – A Mother’s True Story last year, after her son went through his ordeal. He had odd behavioral patterns, so she sought advice from her pediatrician, who recommended a neurologist, who recommended a psychiatrist. Lori followed the advice given, giving her son strong anti-psychotic drugs and almost lost Joshua. His personality changed, his aptitude for schoolwork took a nose dive and he became violent toward his siblings. Fortunately, Lori never gave up and continued to research and talk to other parents who experienced similar things.

She discovered that her son had a very treatable illness called PANDAS. It is related to Strep Throat, if you can believe it. And yes, antibiotics are the cure. Sometimes, an additional treatment is needed, but the good news is that there is a solution for children with this illness.

Joshua’s Missing Peace – A Mother’s True Story  is now available and has attracted national attention. Why? Because people are looking for answers to why these children in New York and St. Louis have had sudden outbreaks of nervous tics. If it wasn’t for the research being done on PANDAS, the parents of these children might not realize that they could be dealing with a bacteria, something that is treatable. They won’t know until they do a simple strep test (which is very inexpensive and easy to do). I would hate to see any of those children go through the horrors that little Joshua did with all the drugs he was given.

I am extremely proud to have been a part of this project. As Lori’s ghostwriter I was able to help her tell her story and get the message out there. I truly believe this book will help many families!

Please pick up a copy of this book today! With this knowledge, you might just save a child’s life!

Happy New Year!

I wish you all a magnificent 2012!

I encourage you to set goals for this year and then take the steps needed to achieve them. You can do it!

I have a special place in my heart for artists. If you are an artist (and I believe we all are), please take a moment to craft a few creative goals. If you’re a writer, please do write. And write. And write some more!

Happy New Year to all my friends!

Best Wishes!

Laura