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.