In this blog post, we’ll be looking at the design process that any project should go through. The design process is effective to find the best concept. This includes book covers, logos, marketing posters, interior formatting, etc. In this example, we’ll be looking at book …
Do you love books, nature, and magic? How about science and children’s stories? Check out this Kickstarter for a really great children’s book series. The Magical Tales of Two Brothers – Book 1: The Peatlands “A book series of wonder and ecological accuracy to promote …
Editing is much more than looking at punctuation, spelling, and grammar, and even those aspects are complex. Editors have to prepare to edit a work in a number of ways including education, consultation, and making careful decisions about what and how to edit. Below are some of the ways I prepare for editing a book.
- Get to know the author, publishing method (publisher, if there is one), and audience the project has. Understanding the writer, publisher, and reader’s perspectives and needs help me make sure the project meets expectations to the best of its abilities. Often, this requires me to act as a decision maker or mediator and to advocate for all parties or offer alternative solutions.
- Research a high-level understanding of the topic or refresh on my deeper knowledge of the topic learned from my experience and education. Sometimes this means reviewing style manuals, academic or factual articles, reading other works that inspired the author or that the publisher felt the project should mimic, and educating myself on some of the facts and concerns of topics ranging personal and professional in the genre or subject. It also means knowing my limitations and ensuring that an expert is consulted in the publishing process or refusing works that I don’t have a background in where my inexperience could affect the outcome of the work (I wouldn’t be suited to edit technical works in medicine or engineering, for example).
- Identify what type of English the book will be published in, determine if I need to edit to that particular English dialect (if examples need to be changed to match a Canadian vs an Australian audience, for example). This also means identifying and researching the right dictionaries and being aware of colloquialisms (slang) and whether or not they fit within the work right down to whether or not contractions would be appropriate.
- Identify the best style manuals, guides, and editing resources to rely on when editing. Depending on the work, I may use a technical style guide, build a custom style guide for current and future project consistency, and/or consult industry resources. An editor should be aware of industry-appropriate resources that fit best in the editing process for your book.
- Be aware of social and political concerns such as bias, stereotypes, and fake news. Part of my role, especially when editing non-fiction, but sometimes with fiction works, is to identify concerns a publisher and author need to investigate further that pose liability or moral implications. I work to identify possible infringements on copyrights and trademarks, stereotypical language or assumptions, biases of authors or publishers, suspect facts, or inappropriate or out-dated terminology. Thankfully, my background (education and experience) provides me a unique perspective that helps me be aware and identify some of these factors, especially inclusivity and writing in plain language.
- Identify editing tools that fit the project. This would include software, format, worksheets and guides (beyond the style manuals/guides), expert knowledge resources, marketing and reviewing, and more which could assist in the success of my editing and the project’s reception to its readers/viewers.
Fun fact, did you know that grammar, spelling, and punctuation are not set in stone? These simple elements of writing actually vary from dialect, place, industry, and even writer to writer. There are two schools of thought: one that believes in structure across all English, and one that believes in the ever-changing evolution of language and the validity of speaker/writer usage. Neither of these anywhere agree on a definitive way of doing things. I try to adopt a middle ground with a leaning towards validity of speaker/writer usage, but my ultimate goal (and the ultimate goal of editors everywhere) is consistency in each work edited.
So there you have it.
An editor’s work is never done.
In short, they’re all acceptable. I was taught to spell out OK or ok or O.K. as its full word ‘okay’. But I wanted to question that. My favourite style guide Chicago Manual of Style (US- used in publishing, academics, and more across countries), and …
As an editor, a style manual is my most important tool. As a writer, a style manual helps improve my writing and ensure consistency in content. Editors use style manuals to ensure writing and publications are consistent. Manuals or books are generalized standards for design …
What you get: 1 round of edits for whatever your budget.
What you need: a manuscript up to 200, 000 words, a story Catherine loves
Catherine will take on a limited number of manuscripts to edit for the month of August and September. Pay what you can for your story.
Just email one chapter sample, your budget, and your deadline for your manuscript to email@example.com before July 31, 2018.
If Catherine loves your story, she’ll work for you.
MS Word and PDF sample format only – MAX ONE CHAPTER SAMPLE
I’ve been getting a lot of questions about faltering and stuttering in dialogue and dash usage.
It can get pretty confusing which to use when. It all comes down to what industry you’re writing in, but you should be checking a style guide right for the type of work you’re doing. One of the most common guides are indicated below and is used for fiction, some non-fiction, some online formatting, and some academic work. Other guides may have decided on a different course, so make sure you know which one is right for you. Don’t know? Email me (firstname.lastname@example.org), or check with your communications department, publisher, editor, or organization you’re writing for.
Some things you should know:
- The Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) is the resource to use as a writer for your questions. They have an online forum which offers a lot of solution/discussion if you pay for a subscription (it is reasonably priced.) If you’re like me though, you can order a hard copy of the book online or find it in some bookstores.
- Faltering speech is equivalent to trailing off or lengthy pauses, “I. . . hmm. . .” (ellipses with spaces as per CMS)
- Stuttering speech is more jarring and jerking, “I—I—I don’t know!” (em dash, convention/CMS)
- An endash and double punctuation is used in unique circumstances
- Hyphens/regular dash should only be used for compound words or names, spelling out letters, or separate certain numbers
Here’s a great resource for you that summarizes what the Chicago Manual of Style says. (Note: she uses 16th edition, I use the most recent 17th edition right now, but the usage is the same in both editions.)
The most important aspect of your writing is your story. Get your plot, characters, subplots, data, conclusions, and heart of your writing down on the page first. If you’re stuck or face writers block, check out author Adam Dreece’s Get Unstuck video. The next important …