Writing a book is not that tough. You have a story in your mind and all you have to do is pen it down. (Abra ka dabra…!) See, the book is in your hands! Alright, but it doesn’t work that way. I have heard people underestimating the work to be done before the book comes out as a ‘published’ one. What they see or assume is just a quarter of the entire process; it requires an understanding and skilled team to bring it perfectly out.
“Woah… Woah… I got a plot… I got an amazing plot!” This is where most of us start. (Though it would be just a start or the end or sometimes 2 or 3 lines that feels like eternal bliss). Outlining the story, writing the first draft, rewriting it, rewriting it again, till you remember every single word of it and feel peace inside your heart, and then we hand it over to magicians. (Beware, they look like normal people but their spells are true.) And we call them generally as ‘Editors’.
Publishing a book without editing is quick. Just like jumping off from the top floor to reach the ground sooner. That’s quicker, I agree, but the consequences need not be mentioned. We generally use elevators or steps to reach the ground floor. Elevators are the most preferred, and here that equals handling over your project to a skilled Editor (Of course, those magicians in disguise). If you prefer taking the steps, that is, if you want to self edit your book, then yes, it takes time to become a true magician.
Editing is not all about addition and deletion of words or correcting the grammar and punctuation errors. It is more than just that, and includes several other phases before your manuscript is crowned by the tag ‘enjoyable’ and ‘error free’. (Oh yes! It needs a lot of magic.)
Structural editors have a huge role in making your manuscript shine brighter and you necessarily need one when yours is a bit longer. (Dear Novelists, you heard it right!) There are thousands of ways to tell a story. Accepting it? Also there are better ways to tell ‘your’ story in a more interesting manner than how you have actually narrated it ago. If rewriting makes your draft better, structural editing tries to make yours the best, concerning the overall organization of the book. Cutting out unnecessary parts and repetitions, that makes your novel slow-paced, rearranging the plot to make it more intriguing, developing your character sketches to make them more impactful are the secret spells of the structural editors.
‘It is slow paced in the 6th chapter’, ‘Wow! I absolutely loved the character sketch of Lizzy!’, ‘What about telling the secret a little later, adding more suspense to the book?’ Won’t it be great if someone, who passionately analysed your book, gives you tips on how to make it ‘more’ better? Developmental editors usually do this. They read your unedited work, and they give you feedback on the positives and negatives of your book. They distinctively report on the structure of your work, which in turns helps you understand how your story reaches someone outside their zone. Structural and developmental editing join hands together to contribute to the right organization of your novel.
Line editing beautifies your book saving it from syntax errors. It deals with reviewing paragraph structures, sentence structures, and readability of your work. They read through lines, confirming if you have used the right ‘powerful’ words in the right places, creating the expected impact on the readers, who believe in your work. Meanwhile, here I expect that you could understand and distinguish the types better. When the first two- Structural and Developmental Editing, focuses on big things, the consequent types keep an eye on small errors. Not always what we write, though it sounds good, is necessarily right in syntax. Readers aren’t here just to enjoy your plot, but to taste the words and feel the satisfaction that they have done a great job choosing your book. (Of course, the more tastier, the more you stay in their good books.)
‘ Is this even an word? ‘ Typos are evil spirited- they vanishh the momment we read through it . What if I write a book with grammatical and punctuation errors all over the manuscript? Isn’t that distracting when you read through the first two lines? That’s common to commit typo errors. Very common. But it isn’t the same to find all your errors when it is your own work. Our brain knows already what we have written, so that’s casual to skip the errors when we self edit our work. So we need a specialist called ‘copyeditors’, who owns the 2x lens in their eyes to spot out errors.
Skipping Copy Editing is one of the hazardous things you could do to your dream novel or short story or whatever your work might be. Readers encountering grammatical or punctuation errors would often find it distracting. Copyediting is all about eradicating spelling, grammar and punctuation errors and it is headed over to a proofreader, who reassures your novel is fantastic as it meant to be.
Writing isn’t an easy task, but there are ways to do it more passionately, loving each word, feeling happy on witnessing the development of your novel and enjoy the process to the fullest.
These magic tricks would enhance your manuscript, making it ready to reach the million people out there. (Drum rolls!) Believe me, you will be super proud of your work. Read a short thriller for FREE here.
Peace and Smiles,
Dharani Kannan. (Connect with me on Instagram)