Working with a Professional Editor . . .

When a potential author works with an editor, s/he should first be aware of the specific steps that professional is able to offer toward preparing a raw manuscript for publication. On this site, I have offered specific definitions right from the beginning of my layout design. My thought today is that repeating those descriptives will be a valuable reference to a writer who has decided to have a professional editor work on her/his writing before s/he assumes that the raw work at hand is ready to go to print – to be seen by the public eye, that is.

The following definitions concerning the Editing Discipline should be helpful:

A. Proofreading = Noting writing errors for the author’s attention and correction, with “noting” being the key term; i.e., not correcting any part of the original text

B. Surface-/Copy-editing = Correcting surface errors (spelling, CAPS, punctuation, footnotes) and immediately evident grammatical flaws (word order, tense discrepancies, pronoun discrepancies, preposition mistakes, etc.). In sum: Correcting syntax with a focus on technical quality

C. Content Editing = Correcting errors in semantics at the basic level; the focus being on how meaning is conveyed

D. Comprehensive/Substantive Editing = Correcting errors in semantics at the advanced level; again, the objective being to correct meaning out of its initial convoluted version

E. Ghostwriting = Writing for the author; writing to transform an author’s illegible original text into a legible presentation of syntax and semantics

Trees and the Forest

I am not a Stephen King fan. I am, however, in complete agreement with his statement below:

“When you write a book, you spend day after day scanning and identifying the trees. When you’re done, you have to step back and look at the forest.” ~ Stephen King

The Writer-Editor Interaction

“Editing should be, especially in the case of old writers, a counselling rather than a collaborating task. The tendency of the writer-editor to collaborate is natural, but he should say to himself, ‘How can I help this writer to say it better in his own style?’ and avoid ‘How can I show him how I would write it, if it were my piece?'” ~ James Thurber

A Dilemma

When you face extraordinary challenges that life presents to you, yet you have several beautifully composed manuscripts on your desk, waiting to be edited in the same professional way you have been accustomed to delivering . . .