Five-Minute Writing Tip
How About an Editor Appreciation Day?
Did you know that March has almost eighty national, religious, or just plain wacky holidays? March 28 is Weed Appreciation Day, so I decided to use it to introduce this month's Five-Minute Writing Tip.
What do weeds have to do with writing? Not much literally, but a lot figuratively. A good editor finds your "weeds" (mistakes) and polishes your writing. Even though March 30 is I Am in Control Day, chances are your manuscript, even on this day, could benefit from some "weeding." I have a writer friend who, early in his career, professed not to need an editor. To him, "editor" was a dirty word-sole purpose of such a person being to reword and remove his voice and replace it with theirs. Luckily, he had a complete change of mind and his writing improved.
So, the good news is that a good editor can dig out the weeds and allow the buds of your writing to blossom. (Pardon the analogy.) The bad news is that you might need more than one editor because not all editors are the same. There's more to editing than correcting grammatical and punctuation errors.
Here are five types of editors you should consider:
If you have a great idea, but aren't sure how to bring it to fruition, a developmental editor can help you draft your idea and craft an outline. This person might also do research and rewriting. In short, a developmental editor acts as an advisor or consultant.
A substantive editor focuses on structure and development to make sure your organization and content are the best they can be. She ties up all the loose ends and ensures your timeline is accurate.
A line editor checks to see if your sentences flow and if their meanings are clear. She makes suggestions on wording and vocabulary.
A copy editor corrects grammar, punctuation, and spelling. She looks for inconsistencies in style and format.
Finally, a proofreader is the last editor to read your manuscript before it goes to print. She looks for textual errors and visual elements. (Is there the right amount of white space on the pages?)
There are all sorts of special days in March, why not an Editor Appreciation Day? Maybe it could be on March 15 and share some calendar space with the Ides of March, Dumbstruck Day, and Everything You Think is Wrong Day.