Welcome to Day 3 of Forever Kinda Love Celebrations.
A book cover might attract a reader to buy the book, but to keep them there until the end, the quality of the story inside the covers is the key. Although giving life to characters inside a book is what we do as writers, it’s the editors that help us clean up the mess. I think of editors as my Quality Assurance go to person–so to speak.
I rely on my editor to help me catch issues that my alpha or beta readers haven’t caught and to tighten up the story, so that the fluff is cleared and only the crucial elements make it into the final version.
So in that sense, Editor, in my mind, is equally important in making the story vibrant using words.
So without further ado, meet the queen Editor Kisa Whipkey!
The Three Phases of Editorial
by Kisa Whipkey
First, I want to offer a resounding congratulations to Priya. After seven months (that’s right, seven!) of intense work, Forever Kinda Love is finally being released into the wild. It’s so exciting for me, as an editor, to watch my authors achieve success, and I couldn’t be more proud of Priya’s efforts.
But that’s not really why Priya asked me to stop by, today. So, before we get to the part most of you are probably waiting for (hint: giveaway), I want to give you a brief look at the editorial process Forever Kinda Love went through. I’ll be using FKL (as Priya and I affectionately call it) as the example, but this process applies to all manuscripts, or should. Think of this as a behind-the-scenes look at what goes in to your favorite books. 😉
Contrary to what some editors will tell you, there are three editorial phases a manuscript goes through:
- Developmental (Structural)
- Line (Copy) Edits
Each requires a different skill set, and each focuses on a different aspect of the story. So let’s take a closer look at what exactly each phase does, shall we?
This is the hardest thing to find in an editor, because not all editors have this skill. Think of it like a bird’s eye view of your story. Developmental editors will be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of plot pacing, character development, message clarity, and various other storytelling techniques. This is beyond grammar, and requires someone with a mastery of storytelling or a gifted sense of story intuition.
For example, when I first saw FKL, it was a fairly rough draft. During this phase, we actually completely deconstructed it and rearranged the sequence, creating a more natural progression for Ace and Heath’s relationship, as well as adjusting the pacing of several subplots I won’t give away, and adding in several new scenes. Suffice to say, the version you will be reading is only remotely similar to the original version I saw. 😉
Note: this is the area where critique partners and beta readers are most helpful, as they can sometimes spot structural issues, as well. But ideally, you’d want to rely on them before bringing in a professional.
Phase 2 is the most time intensive, and is also what most people envision when they hear the word “editing.” This is where an editor will literally go line by line through a manuscript, correcting grammar and making suggestions that will tighten and clarify the prose.
FKL went through two rounds of this, partly because it did go through such massive revisions in the developmental phase. But the end result is as polished and well-crafted as anything you might pick up in your local bookstore.
The final phase of editing is proofreading. This happens after the structure has been solidified and after each and every letter of a manuscript has been polished to a diamond sheen. There’s not really a lot to say about this, as it really only has one mission: look for any last typos, grammar inconsistencies, and formatting problems that may have fallen through the cracks in the previous round.
I always recommend that authors have a few pair of eyes looking over the manuscript at this phase. I believe Priya brought some of her beta readers back in for this pass on FKL, which was fantastically helpful. But it should be noted that there’s a big difference between beta reading and proofreading, and typically, you’d want to find someone who’s specifically skilled at the latter.
So, as you can see, “editing” is not quite as simple as many would lead you to believe. When done right, it’s a time intensive process that takes a book from finished draft to polished prose, and hopefully, to a reader’s Favorite Books shelf.
Which brings us to the last part of today’s post — the giveaway. In honor of FKL’s release, I’ve donated what is called a Reader Report. If, after reading this, you’re curious where your manuscript falls in the spectrum of editing needs, or you’d like to know what acquisitions editors/agents are thinking when they read it, then this is your day. One lucky winner will receive a free Reader Report from me, which means I’ll read over your work and provide you with detailed feedback (of the developmental variety mostly) that will help point you in the right direction.
Thanks again to Priya for inviting me here, and thanks to all of you for reading. And, if you haven’t already, be sure to check out Forever Kinda Love. It’s a beautifully-written, heart-warming story, and I feel privileged to have worked on it. Happy reading! 🙂
Today’s Giveaway includes:
A Reader Report by Editor, Kisa Whipkey
Learn about Kisa and follow her:
Kisa Whipkey is a dark fantasy author, a martial arts demo team expert, and a complete sucker for Cadbury Mini-eggs. She’s also the Editorial Director for YA/NA publisher, REUTS Publications. She developed a passion for storytelling at a young age and has pursued that love through animation, writing, video game design and demo teams until finally finding her home in editing. She believes in good storytelling, regardless of medium, and applauds anything featuring a snarky lead character, a complicated narrative structure, and brilliant/uncommon analogies. Currently, she lives in the soggy Pacific Northwest with her husband and plethora of electronics.
And, of course, to learn more about REUTS Publications, please visit www.reuts.com.
Signed Paperback of Playing Pretend by Juliana Haygert – Open to US residents only!
Learn about Juliana and be sure to follow her:
While Juliana Haygert dreams of being Wonder Woman, Buffy, or a blood elf shadow priest, she settles for the less exciting—but equally gratifying—life of a wife, mother, and author. Thousands of miles away from her former home in Brazil, she now resides in Connecticut and spends her days writing about kick-ass heroines and the heroes who drive them crazy.
So we’ll have 2 winners!***Please read rules before entering the giveaway!***