Totally Edited offers book editing and manuscript assessment services.
These services can be described as developmental. Developmental editing is concerned with how writing works as a whole. It can be defined as a set of tools which assist authors to overcome obstacles in the writing process and maximise the appeal of their writing to prospective publishers. Do all the parts work in harmony with the whole? It falls under the general category of structural editing. Scott Norton’s book ‘Developmental Editing’ focusses on non-fiction. A summary can be found here.
What are the guiding principles I follow when working with writers? I consider communication skill even more important than technical skill. Communication with writers should always be productive, respectful and informed. Listening to what writers want and responding to priority concerns, I offer constructive feedback, praising achievements and building on strengths. Meeting the author where they are, I assist in the next step up, whatever that may be. Suggestions made are supported by evidence, examples, reasoning and clarity. I help the writer think through what’s working and what’s not, allowing them to make their own decisions.
THE STEPS I FOLLOW
How about the steps I follow when working with a writer? Preliminary queries and a writing sample can be valuable in understanding the intention of a writer, skill levels and writing background. It’s important to ascertain the scope of the editorial work required and whether I’m the right editor for the job. Email correspondence is ideal in the early stages and can be followed up later by face-to-face meetings or Skype. On the basis of clear expectations a contract is entered into and the editing work begins. This work consists of reading through a manuscript often twice, taking detailed notes and writing a formal critique letter
THE EDITORIAL LETTER
What can this editorial letter cover? Depending upon the type of manuscript being edited and the priorities of the writer, the letter can cover issues such as: theme, audience, general structure, plots and storylines, character and point of view, scene and summary and the reflective voice, dialog and interior monolog, chronology and moving around in time, narrative shape and pacing, settings and historical time periods, voice and tone, imagery, devices, and any global language use issues. As described, I will always gear the letter towards accomplishing the goals of the writer. Material will be presented in an organised and positive manner.
To summarise, in offering a complete developmental editing service, Totally Edited is guided by respectful communications, follows clear steps and writes critiques whose aim is simply to assist writers to achieve their goals for the project. Please contact me at your convenience to discuss your project.