My Services: Manuscript Evaluation

            Recently, I have been sharing the types of editing services I offer to authors. In my last installment of this series, I will be sharing a slightly different service: manuscript evaluation. If you aren’t certain about what editing your manuscript needs, an evaluation might be your answer.

What Is It?

            A manuscript evaluation is like editing. The biggest difference is that an evaluation does not include actual corrections. Instead, a manuscript evaluation is about a big picture view of your manuscript and what it needs. Because of this difference, this method can be less expensive while still giving you guidance on how to improve your manuscript.

Who Is It For?

            A manuscript evaluation might be the answer for you if you have a completed manuscript, but don’t know how much editing it needs. You don’t want to pay for heavy editing if it is not needed, nor do you want to pay for copy editing when your manuscript truly needs developmental edits. The evaluation will help you know what type of editing will be the most beneficial to you.

 It is also good for those who want advice but can’t afford a full edit. If you are self-publishing and on a tight budget, the manuscript evaluation will help you get some objectivity as you edit, without using up your entire budget.

What Does It Look Like?

            My process for a manuscript evaluation differs from my editing processes. I begin critiquing the manuscript during my first reading. I make note of persistent problems I see with mechanics, first impressions of characters, and anything else I notice as I read. By the time I reach the end, I will usually have a series of queries along with my notes. My second pass through your manuscript is meant for finding the answers to my questions and confirming my initial thoughts.

            Once I am done working out all my questions and comments, I write them out into a letter. In this letter, I will explain to you my impressions of your manuscript. Then, I will tell you what your manuscript’s strengths and weaknesses are. From there, I will give you some advice on what you can do to make your manuscript even stronger. If you request it, I will include a light markup of the manuscript. It will be most similar to a light copy edit.

Conclusion

            Writing a book can be a daunting task and editing it may sound even more difficult. Editors want to help you navigate the process. If you would like some advice on the next steps for your novel and what it might still need before publication, a manuscript evaluation might be exactly what you need.

My Services: Line Editing

            The type of editing you choose depends on what you need and where you are in the writing process. It also depends on the editor’s definition of the different types. Over the next several posts, I’ll be describing the types of editing I offer, who they are for, and what my process is. Last time, we looked at developmental editing. Today, we’ll be discussing line editing.

What Is It?

            Line editing is about structure and style. Line editing is like developmental editing in its focus on structure. Unlike developmental editing, it also looks at style choices. With line editing, I work by paragraph, by line, and by word. With each part, I look for certain elements to make sure that your manuscript is using all its potential.

Who Is It For?

            Line editing is for authors who want to ensure that their manuscripts are clear and strong. You’ve done some rewriting and developed the text. Now, you want to make sure that your work uses concise wording and makes a strong presentation of your ideas.

What Is the Process?

            In my line editing process, I try to work in sections through the manuscript. I will read the manuscript first. Afterward, I take care of any housekeeping items such as running spellcheck and removing extra spaces. From there, I begin editing by looking at the big picture. Depending on the manuscript, that will either be by chapter or by section. I mostly look for sound structure, good transitions, and consistent style choices.

            Next, I move on to a paragraph view. This step is where the process becomes more detailed. With each paragraph, I consider not only the structure and flow into surrounding paragraphs but also the value of the paragraph. I try to define the point of it so that I can determine if there is a better way to word it. If necessary, I’ll suggest new wording so that it can better present your point. Each paragraph needs to add something. No parts of a manuscript get to slack off!

            After looking at the paragraphs, I move on to sentences. Once again, every sentence must serve a purpose. I look for what that purpose is and how well that sentence is doing its job. I keep an eye out for jargon, triteness, and proper tone. I will also look at consistency and determine if there is a way to say the same thing with fewer, clearer words.

            Finally, I look at each word. I consider the meaning—especially connotation—color, tone, and clarity. Each word needs to be strong and vivid to help carry the idea of the manuscript and keep the reader’s interest.

            Once I complete the editing, I read the manuscript one more time. I want to make sure that I haven’t introduced any errors while I was making changes or missed errors that were already present.

Conclusion

            Line editing is ideal for making sure your developed manuscript is strong and has consistent style choices. With a line edit, I can help you catch any mistakes in the important details of your manuscript.