Your editor should be like a good trip navigator, helping you to steer toward your writing goal, but never trying to take the wheel.
You decide where you want to take your writing. I help you spot and deal with the issues all writers face.
How will we work together?
Depends on where you are in the process. Let’s look at different landmarks on your writerly journey and how I can help you.
The Early Draft:
You bolt up in the middle of the night or freeze in the shower, mid-lather. You’ve just had it. The IDEA. You slap down a rough draft as fast as you can before the Muse deserts you.
Level of Edits – Brainstorming (AKA Developmental or Structural Edits):
Here’s where we ruthlessly hunt down and eliminate plot holes, character problems, and space-time troubles. We’ll balance backstory and calibrate pacing. In short, the big picture issues.
You’ve got a completed manuscript. You’ve done some basic edits. Now you need a fresh pair of eyes – preferably not belonging to a dear friend or relative (thanks, Mom, but not everything I write is “amazing!”).
Level of Edits – Scene (AKA Stylistic or Line Edits).
By now you’ve got the major problems rounded up and pinned down, so we move on into getting the smaller details in order. I look at how scenes are working, consider what they should be doing for your story (add tension, intro a new character, explain a story mechanic or plot device, etc.) and make them work harder, faster, and better. I also look at things like sentences structure, dialog wording, transitions, and anything that falls under that elusive heading of “tone” or “voice”.
You’re so close to done you can almost taste the celebratory wine/beer/coffee/tea, but you’re not there yet. You’ve read and revised your work so much you practically have it memorized. But you missed that incorrect use of “it’s” instead of “its”. And then you notice one of your supporting characters used to live in Queenstown in Chapter 2, but by Chapter 7, she’d somehow moved to Queensten.
Let the Nit-Pickery Begin!
For most people the idea of pouring over a manuscript, searching out a single misplaced comma, sounds maddening. “Bah!” I say. As a self-confessed control-freak, I relish the level of precision and exactitude that goes into proofreading. During the proofreading stage, I check for grammar, spelling, and usage issues. I also check for consistency issues, such as character descriptions, name spelling (especially you fancy sci-fi/fantasy types), timelines, and just about anything that might cause your reader to say, “Hey, wait. Wasn’t she…?” while madly flipping back several pages.
Additionally, proofreading offers a final chance to catch any major problems that have managed to survive previous drafts and edits – and there’s always a few of these gremlins.
Normally, I do not proofread a project that I have worked on as an editor. No writer can catch all their own errors, and no editor can either. If I edit a project, I cannot trust myself to see it in the totally unbiased light I would need to do a thorough proofread.
Here’s a sample of my rates for an average-length book.
- Developmental Edits ~ $2,000-$3,500
- Stylistic Edits ~ $1,500 – $3,000
- Proofreading ~ $700 – $1,000
The average book is between 60-80k words (100k for speculative fiction, such as sci-fi or fantasy). Most paperback editions have approximately 250 words per page, so average page count is 240-320 (400 spec fic).
I use the Editorial Freelancers Association’s rates as my guide. Prices listed here are not fixed and will vary depending on the size and complexity of your project.
For specifics, contact me and we’ll discuss your project.
7 thoughts on “Editing & Proofreading”
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