The Writing Process: Working with an Editor (Ep. 18)

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Hello, fellow literary people!

This week, Elizabeth Carlton explains how partnering with an editor will turn your draft into a flawless, professional product — and something you can be very proud of!


 
FULL NARRATIVE:

We’ve critiqued. We’ve edited. It’s time to pat yourselves on the back because this is such a huge project and you should be very proud of all the work you have done.

The next step is to work with an editor. This can be a daunting process because we want someone who is familiar with our genre and is excited about our story.

1) Research editor associations and their credentials
2) Contact an editor, or a few editors, for more information
3) Work on a sample chapter together

You’ve seen Elizabeth Carlton on the show before, but you may not know she critiqued BATTLEGROUND in its early drafts.

Elizabeth offers developmental and copy editing services, and has six years of professional writing experience and five years of editing experience. Just like before, we begin with a development edit to improve structure, plot, characterization, and voice. Next, we work on copy editing to fine-tune grammar, spelling, word choice, and continuity issues.

Elizabeth also offers in-person mentoring and virtual tutoring, which is way neat! These sessions help elevate your manuscript and develop your writing voice.

She kindly volunteered her time to offer more information:


Elizabeth Carlton
Freelance Writer and Editor

Hey, Jennie. Thanks for having me again.

Freelance editors like myself provide an affordable pair of eyes trained to make your rough draft publishing ready. As an editor, I assess grammar, character development, story flow — things that ensure your novel is clear, engaging, and free of errors that might disrupt your audience’s experience.

There are a couple ways I do this:


1) Read Your Manuscript Aloud


You would be amazed at what you catch by simply reciting your work: run-on sentences, fragments, typos, added/missing words. Things of that sort.


2) Cut out the Fat


Which means trimming out unnecessary words so that the core of your voice in your stories stand out. This helps with word count and it also helps with clarity. Take the word “that,” for example; 98% of the time, I see people utilize the word “that” when they could remove it completely from a sentence and it will stand perfectly fine on its own. The old saying “less is more” really is gold.

These are tips that you can actually do yourself before you even submit your draft to an editor or even to beta readers. However, you always, always want to hire or recruit the two. No matter how skilled of a writer you are, editing your own manuscript will always end up being flawed in the end, even after you publish it. You need another pair of eyes to catch grammar, punctuation, technical errors, as well as to provide an outside perspective to ensure that there is clarity in your story. All writers are like an omnipotent god; they know what is said, they know what is unsaid — which is great, but it also prevents them from being able to approach their own work with what’s called “blank-slate perspective.” They can’t see outside of it, which is why these editors and beta readers are essential.

Once you hire and recruit those people to help you in that next step in the process, you will come out with a product that is flawless and that is also something you can be very proud of.


Additional Resources:

  1. Trust Me, You Need a Good Editor” — How an editor could have improved a book – a case study from agent via Rachelle Gardner.

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