Editing for storytelling

I do “substantive” or “developmental” editing, which deals with storytelling: use of language, description, characterization, plot, structure, and more.

What that doesn't mean:
While I will catch 95% or better of grammatical and punctuation shortcomings and will take your manuscript to the level of most professional writers, I don’t claim to be an expert copyeditor. My strengths lie with story and narrative craft, and I don’t focus on the nuances of grammar and punctuation. I can recommend an excellent copyeditor.

Electronic edits only--word processor requirements:

You must have the ability to use Word's Markup features--Comments and Track Changes--or WordPerfect's Comment and Annotation features so that you will see every bit of editing and the comments that include instruction and coaching. You must have access to one of those two word-processing programs.

Contract: If we agree to do an edit, I provide a comprehensive contract that protects your ownership rights in your story and details what you will receive from me.

how it works2blu

Editorial philosophy

I respect your voice. While I do offer suggestions, usually for reasons of clarity, meaning, effectiveness, or pace, I do not rewrite to fit my way of saying things. I aim to help you achieve your intent.

  • If it’s to describe, then to create description that evokes the scene.
     
  • If to increase tension, then to help create crisp writing that does the job well.
     
  • If to characterize, then to help create nuances through action, description, and dialogue that bring characters to life.
     
  • If to create a riveting plot, then to suggest twists, point out detours and going astray, to restructure--I’ve even suggested new endings.

mastering front 100WshadowSharpen your manuscript before an edit

If you read the Reader Reviews for Mastering the Craft of Compilling Storytelling here, you’ll get an idea of how it helps writers with their craft.

Focus of edits

Through intensive line editing (focus on individual words and sentences as well as overall story elements) and coaching.

I will help you with:

  • Tightening the writing (you may see lots of adjectives and adverbs go away)
  • Story flow & pace, rooting out dead spots
  • Plot flaws
  • Continuity
  • Staging action
  • Description (that also characterizes)
  • Character development
  • Dialog that moves the story
  • Dialog tags and action beats
  • Transitions
  • Use of active voice
  • Proper word usage
  • Clarity and weak word choices
  • Overuse of words or characters
  • Redundancies
  • Spelling
  • Sentence structure
  • Coaching & instruction on writing craft

About coaching:

Using electronic comments embedded in your manuscript, I explain why something I point out isn’t good practice, or why it falls short of achieving good writing craft. I often give examples of how to improve a bit of narrative as well--I call them “thoughtstarters.”

As a client says in the testimonials, “Apart from his fantastic editing work, Ray gave me an intensive and comprehensive lesson on writing.”

My goal is to help you become an even better storyteller, not to simply tidy up your manuscript

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Novel, Kathleen Toomey Jabs
Fuze Publishing