Writing is a complex process with many stages beginning with an idea and ending with a story, essay, poem, memoir, novel or many other creative possibilities. Although this process often begins as a solitary endeavor, along the way writers need copy editing, book editing and proofreading by professional editors to ensure their manuscripts read well. For a writer to proofread or copy edit his or her own work is nearly impossible. Only an editor with a fresh eye or someone who is well-versed in manuscript editing can give a writer's work that thorough proofreading or copy editing. Often book editors perform two different types of manuscript editing for their clients. One type is basic editing, proofreading or copy editing. Basic editing checks a writer's work for spelling, grammar, punctuation, and minor restructuring. For example:
Molly didn't want to go on the picnic Saturday. She really rather preferred to stay at Home and eat Nestle Crunch bars and pretzels.
A book editor would copy edit this sentence and make these basic editorial corrections:
Molly didn't want to go on the picnic Saturday. Really she preferred to stay at home and eat Nestle Crunch bars and pretzels.
All writers need manuscript editing to clean up minor mistakes that are overlooked when we read our own work. A sloppy manuscript can be turned down by a book editor or a literary agent. If proper manuscript editing has not been done, then an editor will correct sentence fragments, verb tenses, capitalization, spelling, grammar and punctuation as well as other essential components of effective writing.
In addition to basic editing, writers need advanced editing by a professional editor to turn their manuscripts into polished work-- no matter the genre. Advanced editing includes all the facets of basic editing, plus overall book editing. This means the book editor will make the structure of the book strong, consistent, and organized, all while maintaining the voice of the writer.
Here is an example of advanced editing:
Early in the morning Lori woke up and looked out the window. She pulled open the curtain and stood on her tippytows. Then she got out of bed. The floor was cold on her feet so she put on her soxs and slippers and then went to the bathroom and splashed water on her face and brushed her teeth and brushed her hair and called down to her mother i want pancakes for dinner!
A book editor would correct the above sentence:
Early in the morning, Lori woke up and got out of bed. She pulled open the curtain and stood on her tip toes. The floor was cold so she put on her socks and slippers went to the bathroom and splashed water on her face before brushing her teeth and hair.
After she was ready for school, Lori called down to her mother, "I want pancakes for breakfast!"
In today's competitive publishing market, writers of all genres and all levels need a professional editor to prepare their work before it is presented to literary agents and publishers.