The Book Doctor is in the house!

There is a term that has been bandied around the internet and is starting to make the rounds of conferences and writing forums. It's a term that describes that type of person whom one might want to hire during the early stages of a manuscript's life (or later stages if a book is struggling to gain reader engagement). The term: Book Doctor or Plot Doctor. It's an interesting buzz term. However, I have encountered other terms that also refer to the same type of editor.

Book Doctor = Manuscript Assessor = Developmental Editor

Yep, you read that right, folks. Book Doctor is just another term for a developmental editor. And guess what... That's exactly the type of editor that I am.

So, what does a Book Doctor or Developmental Editor actually do?

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How important really is grammar?

When I tell people that I’m a freelance editor (including other writers), they instantly assume that I’m a copyeditor, with a keen interest in working on the grammar and punctuation of my clients. I’m not surprised that writers often jump to that conclusion. Majority of editors that I encounter actually ARE copyeditors. However, what is the point behind looking at the appropriateness of a given word in a sentence when on page 152 the bad guys are setting up the bomb that will level the city, and the good guys find the bomb and disarm it by the end of page 154.

This may sound incredibly odd coming from a professional editor, but in all honesty, grammar takes a backseat to story and character.

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Developmental Editors are NOT Copyeditors

When I tell people that I’m an editor, the first response that I typically get is something along the lines of, “You must love spelling.” It’s amazing how many people assume that editing is just looking at the punctuation and grammar, perhaps finding typos. However, this proofreading type of editing is the final stage of the process. Before you get to that point, there are so many other aspects.

I have written about the stages of editing before, posting the below info-graphic about when you need to seek those external eyes and what type of external eyes you need. However, I still encounter many who are confused about what editing really entails.

The stages of editing info-graphic

The stages of editing

In this week’s post, I thought I’d elaborate on the two main categories of professional editors that you’ll likely encounter, and why BOTH are vital to the health (and success) of a story. I’m talking in particular about developmental editors and copyeditors.

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Editing: The Who, What and When

When I tell people that I’m a freelance editor, it’s quite common for people to assume that I spend day in and day out just looking at spelling, grammar and punctuation. I don’t get this reaction from just the general public either. Many writers, especially new writers, also make this assumption. However, editing is so much more.

Editing falls into four main categories: critique, developmental, line and copy-edit. Each stage is necessary to the development of a manuscript. While the initial drafting of a story is a solitary practice, it’s vital for every writer to seek out those extra sets of eyes to provide objective input. The who and the when will depend entirely on what stage your manuscript is at. The stages of editing (depicted in the figure below) are the same for both traditional and self-publication, it’s just the players that may change.Read More