Why Hire An Editor?
An editor offers objectivity with heart. An editor is not emotionally attached to your work the way family and friends might be when they offer their help to read what you have written. However, a good editor still works from the heart and with heart, honoring that this is your creation and your voice while ensuring that your writing will be the best it can be.
An editor performs an invaluable service. The writer’s job is to write—the editor’s job is to edit. A professional, accomplished editor will make your words flow beyond your wildest dreams, helping to strengthen and bring clarity to your writing voice. An editor catches and repairs things, too. After you have looked at the same written materials dozens and dozens of times, you can become accustomed to seeing things the way you envision them. Your mind will fill in missing words and phrases, even though they are not actually on the page. An editor’s task is to make sure that what you envision is what comes through in your writing.
An editor provides an extra set of eyes. Having another pair of eyes review your material is essential to creating written work that is the best it can be. Hiring a good editor is a wise, and necessary, investment. Editors check for a lot more than spelling and grammar. Editors can check for continuity and flow in your storyline and identify areas where there may be confusion for readers. They provide feedback about your characters and dialogue—identifying where further development may be needed. Editors can call attention to areas in your writing where facts may need further checking—and even verify those facts for you. In memoir writing, the editor can offer perspective on how to tell your story so that others can benefit from your experiences. An editor will work with you to assure that your unique voice comes through your writing. What an editor does is make your written work the best it can be. Using an editor makes your work more marketable.
Why Work with Donna?
My Experience. I have edited dozens of books and won multiple editing awards.
My Motivation. Words are powerful and extremely magical. I especially enjoy working with authors to bring out the magic and power of your words, taking the reader where you—the author—want to lead them.
My Heart. No matter how big or small the project, I work with heart. I honor the work you’re doing to bring your writing to life. I understand that especially when working on writing that involves your life experiences, the journey can be quite emotional. I am sensitive to your process and work with you to honor the emotions that may arise. I see myself as your midwife, helping you birth your writing and ensuring that your work has a safe delivery into the world. I also have a large community network and do my best to connect you with other people and services to get your work out there and into the hands of others.
My Diverse Background. Some works need an editor with expertise in a particular area. I especially love the genres of memoir, biography, and personal growth and development. I also work in a variety of other genres, including historical fiction, visionary and fantasy fiction, health and nutrition, spirituality, death and dying, parenting, adolescent psychology, business, entrepreneurship, as well as children’s books that address social and environmental issues.
(My editing fees are aligned with and similar to typical editing rates in the Western United States.)
Click here to learn more about the levels of editing I offer.
Oftentimes, a completed manuscript is not yet ready for the editing process. Sometimes, the author seeks a review in order to get clarity about what’s missing or what is still needed. At other times, the editor makes the recommendation, or even requires, that a manuscript review be performed before entering into the three-part editing process. A manuscript review provides initial feedback regarding what is working well and where more development is required. Areas of assessment include general storyline, description of place and settings, character development, as well as the use of dialogue. In the case of memoir, I look at the depth and breadth of what you wish to convey, taking into consideration the story you want to tell about yourself, who your audience may be, and what you wish to have them gain from your experiences. As a part of a manuscript review, I offer examples and suggestions to give you a sense of where you’ll go next.
(1st level edit)
The developmental edit focuses on big picture elements of your story, whether nonfiction or fiction. This first level of editing looks at the objectives of your story and your story’s message to ensure that the content is being communicated clearly to your intended audience. At this level of editing, I focus on the story structure, point(s) of view, style and tone, flow and pacing, plot and plot holes, character and scene development, dialogue and voicing, continuity, logic, and length to consider from a higher vantage point what is working well, what isn’t, and how the story can be improved. This is the big picture edit that comes before the line edit and proofread. The developmental edit may result in a substantial rewrite of your manuscript, which could even necessitate a second developmental edit, as this level of editing is focused on the entirety of your story, which could leave you with the need to reconsider certain story threads, characters, settings, and conversations that may not be working the way you intended. Although this level of editing can definitely shake up what you initially wrote, my intention is to offer feedback that will help you make your story everything you dreamed of it becoming.
(2nd level edit)
Line editing (sometimes referred to as copy editing), is the second level of edit that is done after your manuscript has gone through the developmental editing process, and after you’ve had the opportunity to address the technical aspects of your manuscript and “tighten” or modify your storyline. A line editor will help identify issues in sentence structure, such as run-on sentences, verb tenses, and word usage; identify clichés and encourage you to “stretch yourself” and create your own analogies and metaphors; ensure that the tone is consistent; and fine-tune your choice of words and syntax of your manuscript. Although the line edit will offer grammar-related changes, the main purpose of a line edit is to improve flow and suggest line edits to strengthen elements of your story, including scenes and characters. Unlike the proofread, a line edit is not meant to only point out typos.
(3rd level edit)
Many people think that editing and proofreading are synonymous. A proofread is an in-depth, line-by-line, final read-through of your manuscript to ensure that all spelling, grammar, and punctuation is correct, and details, such as formatting issues and style, are consistent. It is performed by a person other than the editor to ensure that a fresh set of eyes reviews your manuscript one last time following the line edit. I work closely with my proofreader to prepare your manuscript for the proofread and to then review all proposed changes made by the proofreader, who works with The Chicago Manual of Style (style guide) and an edition of Merriam-Webster (dictionary).
PLEASE NOTE: For all levels of editing, you will receive your document in an electronic Microsoft Word file with areas noted (using “comments” and “track changes”) where changes are needed, along with any suggested modifications. If we agree that I will make changes, those will also be notated.