Line Editing vs. Copy Editing
Mike Shepard Moscoe
- In general, money goes to the author, not from the author.
- But if you are indie published, you are the publisher. Then there are expenses, including editing.
- Line editing
- grammar errors,
- Story editing
- plot holes, characters acting out of character.
- Story editing can improve a book, not just fix errors.
- Suggested rewrites… sometimes writers don’t make the exact change, but get what the error is, and address it another way.
- One of the drawbacks of indie publishing is that not everyone has an editor.
- If you’re going to do an independent publication, you still have to treat it as a traditional house would. You need a story editor, you need a line editor.
- “This is a great story. Can you rewrite it from third person POV?”
- Seemed like crazy feedback. But I did it.
- It became so much more powerful. Better story, grew wordcount to appropriate length.
- Have an amazing editor. Every suggestion she’s ever made has made the book better.
- Have done both line editing and story editing.
- story editing should check continuity (facts remain constant in the book, e.g. dead in scene 3 is still dead in scene 9) and historical/world accuracy.
- “It only needs a light edit” –> it’s never true.
- “fix it” –> the key words for story editing
- sometimes it only takes two sentences to fix a major story element. can change “out of character” to “in character”.
- the key is to tell a writer that something needs fixing, not how to fix it.
- you want your first readers to give you this kind of feedback.
- Q: How do you find an editor?
- First, do the best you can with a writing group, or by reading Strunk & White, by using first readers — to get it in the best shape possible. Otherwise you can spend a fortune on your editor.
- Second, editors should give you references and have credentials. Anyone can call themselves an editor.
- Third, go to cons, and take note of the names of panelists.
- As writers, we all have a tick. using the word “just” or “a little”. editors will come back and say “you need to remove 75% of ‘justs’”. this is good feedback.
- When you’re shopping around for an editor, you need to ask what they read and work in. You need to find someone literate with your genre.
- Have more than one first reader, and do them serially:
- first one reads for story edits.
- later ones receive the fixed version, confirming that story edits worked and now nit-picking.