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What a Manuscript Editor Does (and Doesn't) Do
9/7/2009 2:17:35 AM
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Ever since my first novel, ďFast Track,Ē was published in 2005, Iíve come across people who are trying to write books. Often, they pay me to take a critical look at their manuscript.
Here are five things a professional manuscript editor does (and doesnít) do:
1. Treats Your Manuscript (and you) with Respect: Even if your manuscript is fiction, youíve put a lot of yourself into it. A LOT. No doubt youíve agonized over word choice and sentence structure Ė and perhaps even despaired at your overall ability as a writer. A good manuscript editor understands this and approaches your work with the realization that behind the words may lie a fragile psyche.
2. Gives You Feedback that is Honest: Yes, yes, we all want to be told that what weíve written is Pulitzer-worthy, but a good editor will tell you the truth. However, giving honest feedback doesnít mean being nasty or snarky. My approach is to react to your manuscript as a reader. Do I want to turn pages -- or turn off the light? You need to know.
3. Tells You Whatís Working Ė and What Isnít: Can I see in my mindís eye the scene youíve written? Are your characters real to me? Is the story believable? Iíll let you know.
4. Is Nitpicky: Spelling? Punctuation? Even the most conscientious writer misses the little things. Itís the editorís job to catch them.
5. Asks Questions and Makes Suggestions: Itís almost Ė but not quite Ė a collaborative relationship between writer and editor. The people who have been most helpful to me are the ones who ask me probing questions about my manuscripts. Those questions spark my creativity and nudge me toward finding answers. Sometimes they suggest ideas I hadnít considered. Iím under no obligation to implement them, but I find that thinking about them often leads me in a new and exciting direction Ė and makes the finished product better.
Do you have a manuscript that needs an objective pair of eyes? Let me know -- Iíd love to be of service.
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More Blogs by John DeDakis
Ode to a Mentor....Or Letter from the Grave - Thursday, September 23, 2010
You Should Write a Book - Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Ever Feel Inadequate? - Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Change is Good - Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Overcoming the Fear of Rejection - Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Beating Writer's Block - Tuesday, October 27, 2009
What a Manuscript Editor Does (and Doesn't) Do - Monday, September 07, 2009
Confessions of a Cross-gender Writer - Saturday, July 04, 2009
5 Ways to Stay Organized While Writing a Novel - Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Writing for the Ear; Writing for the Eye - Sunday, May 17, 2009
Plan a Little; Write a Little - Friday, May 01, 2009
Building a Novel - Friday, April 10, 2009
Writing a Screenplay - Tuesday, February 17, 2009
VICTORY! - Wednesday, January 07, 2009
A Creative Setback...and Opportunity - Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Heading to the Inca Trail - Saturday, September 15, 2007
Solving the Time Problem - Thursday, April 05, 2007
Simmer Mode - Saturday, March 31, 2007
The Art of Flitting - Friday, February 02, 2007
Brooding - Monday, January 29, 2007
Scene Building - Sunday, January 14, 2007
Getting Stuff Done - Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Connecting - Sunday, December 03, 2006
Making Revisions - Friday, December 01, 2006
In Search of Balance - Sunday, November 12, 2006
The (sort of) Daily Muse - Thursday, November 09, 2006