In the home stretch

In my last post, I touched base – albeit very minimally – on copyediting. I have spent the last few weeks looking up as much information as I could find on copyediting services. Since this is a major part of the next step in my journey, I wanted to share what I have learned to anyone who may be interested.

The hardest part for me was figuring out where to begin. I have come to accept that my brain is like the old Pong video game. My ideas zip around, bouncing off of the walls of my brain, and I have to concentrate considerably hard to keep my little ball of ideas from getting lost. So, to keep myself from getting overwhelmed with a task set before me, I make lists. Below is my bullet point approach to the editing process based on the information that I have gathered, and/or were suggested to me. This list does not imply that it is the only approach (nor the best approach) but the one that feels like it will suit my needs. I may come to learn that some things don’t work for me and other things may need to be added, but only time and experience will tell. At the end of the post I also added some helpful links to sites that offer a plethora of information on all things editing.

My Approach 

  1. The Final Draft – I am more than halfway finished with the second draft. Once it’s done I will re-read it to give it a final once over.
  2. Beta Readers – I learned about this step from On Writing (my literary bible) by Stephen King. I have asked a few readers to read my final draft and poke holes through it. To make sure that I don’t have any loose ends left untied. I will ask them to give me an honest review. 
  3. Manual Evaluation – Once I go over the beta reviews and make any necessary adjustments,  I will re-read it once more to make sure that I am confident with the results. At this point I will solicit the help of a professional editor. Most of the editing sites that I have visited consider a Manual Evaluation as the first stop on the pathway to a polished novel. It is a broad synopsis of the editors’ feedback on your work. Depending on the editor, the evaluation may include notes on your character development, prose, voice, theme, etc. At the end of the editors evaluation you generally receive a report of their findings on these areas, and maybe tips that they feel are important to the success of your story.
  4. Comprehensive Edit – Once I receive the manual eval back, I am going to take the editors’ advice and put it to action. But before I send off my book to any agent, I need it to look its best. This is when I will solicit a comprehensive edit. Again, depending on the editor chosen, the contents in the ‘package’ of the comprehensive edit may vary (my links below will give you a better and more thorough explanation of a comprehensive edit). But for the most part, I have seen them include: marginal comments – meant to specifically point out areas that need strengthening and/or revisions; and a line edit, which breaks the novel down sentence by sentence to correct grammar, delete parts that don’t work, tweak areas that need tweaking and give a final polish to the work.
  5. The Send Off – after the line edit, I will send my novel out to literary agents and wait. While I wait, I will begin working on my next writing project (I wrote those ideas down too, or else they will bounce right out of my mind)

I feel real good about where I am with my novel right now. I’m forging ahead! Thanks for following my journey! Be kind and share using the share buttons below!

NY Book Editors
Louann Pope, Freelance Editor
Difference between copy editing and line editing
The Creative Penn – editing/editor info
Anna Genoese, Editor
Cary Plocher, Freelance Editor

Writers Digest article on editing


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