A sensitive edit

By Shae Lalor

I'm working on editing a first-time author's very personal story.

I was thrilled when she chose me as her editor, yet keenly aware of my responsibilities to her manuscript.

Not only must I edit for structural integrity, flow, grammar, consistency and readability, but I must tend to her writing with great care.

Writing a personal story takes real courage. My work cannot strip the author's personality from the story  it must enhance it.

That's why when you look for an editor, it's important to see them as more than a grammar-geek with a red pen. An editor needs to offer insights that you may not get from your friends, family or colleagues.

Being impartial, yet honest, sensitive and technically proficient, can be a helpful mix to get your writing polished and out to its intended audience.

When choosing a service provider, this ability to offer sensitivity is a fairly intangible thing to assess. So if I was looking for an editor, I would:

  • first use this handy commissioning checklist to tick through the editing services I'm after
  • review my potential editor's work and talk to their referees or former clients
  • speak with them  or meet in person if necessary  to see if we had a connection.

Editor sensitivity is essential when working on an author's personal story, yet I like to think that I bring this same level of sensitivity to all my editing projects.

That's because all writing starts with a real person (or 10!). That person, or that group of people, worked hard to put those words together  to bring an idea to life.

And I believe that always deserves respect.

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