Developmental Editing Dos and Don’ts

I generally begin any developmental edit with a quick read-through intended just to familiarize myself with the story. I make developmental notes for myself as I perform that first read-through, including areas where I’m confused or questions that arise. Sometimes my questions are answered and my confusion cleared up by the time I reach the…

Ask the Editor: Line Editing During a Developmental Edit

From my inbox: “I’m a little confused about how much line editing is expected during a developmental edit. Are we expected to smooth over all of the tics in the author’s writing that might occur on every page of the manuscript – overuse of dialogue tags, confusing or awkward syntax, overuse of adverbs, etc? I…

Stages of Learning

When you’re first learning how to edit, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the learning curve and to wonder when it would be realistic to start charging for your services. The answer is at Stage #3. You don’t know what you don’t know. (Unconscious incompetence) You know you don’t know stuff. (Conscious incompetence) You know…

Query Letter Basics

If your author-client is interested in trying to have their novel published by a traditional publisher, you may be asked to look at the author’s query letter (also called a pitch letter). Query letters are easy to get wrong, so here are some tips for making sure your author hits the mark. The pitch needs…

Growing Your Developmental Editing Mindset

Beginning developmental editors sometimes ask me how “awful” books make it onto the New York Times bestseller list, and how can we worry about what makes a story “good” when obviously quality doesn’t matter to readers? How do “bad” books make it through the editorial process? In other words, your existential crisis is common and…