Options

Some more detail about my editing services

I genuinely love working with other writers to help them make their writing stronger. I have worked with writers who have penned several books or just one, those who are agented and those who are dreaming of being on shelves, those who have polished their manuscript for years and those who want me to look at a first draft. A fun part of my job is that I get to help writers at so many different stages, whenever it is most helpful for them.

I want to tell you a bit more about my different editing options since it can be hard to know exactly what you’re getting when you ask for an editing service. I would always say to be careful and ask lots of questions if you’re unsure. I am in the lovely position if having many clients who are delighted with the feedback they receive, but if you’re unsure what that feedback would look back and you want a bit more information before diving in, hopefully this will help you.

OPTION ONE – FULL MANUSCRIPT REPORT

I will read your manuscript and write a detailed report about the things I think are working, any areas that need strengthening, and the things that need to be cut or changed. This report is generally about one page per 10,000 words, and normally concentrates on the following:

  • Plot – this is an overview of your story. Does everything that happens make sense? Is too much or too little happening? Do the things that happen tie in with the emotional journey of your main character? Is there too much telling, rather than showing? Could you make your start or end more dramatic? Are there too many sub-plots distracting from the main story?
  • Pacing – this is often combined with the plot section, since they are so closely linked. I will pinpoint those places in your novel when something happens far too quickly so understanding and emotional resonance is lost. I will give ideas for tightening sections that are too long and lack tension
  • Character – I will spend most of my time detailing the strengths and weaknesses of your main character, but will also include anything of note about your antagonist and supporting characters. Has your main character got agency – do they make things happen in the story or are they being pushed about by the action? How relatable and sympathetic are they? Do I understand their choices and reactions? Is there anything that needs fleshing out or are we being told too much? What do they look like, and are there any conscious choices you could be making to step towards diversity and away from stereotypes? Here, I will often talk about the voice of your novel – is the tone and vocabulary consistent throughout and fitting for your genre and main character?
  • Setting – this is particularly important in fantasy or sci-fi novels, when there is a lot of world building involved. Are you being too detailed or too light-touch? Is there any info dumping? With other genres, I will be thinking about how well you describe where your main character lives/plays out the story. If it is in a well-known area or city, have you taken advantage of chances to work this place into your story?
  • Technical – I do not pretend to be a copy editor or proof reader, but I will let you know of any grammatical or sentence structure issues I spot. Are you overusing any words or techniques? Are you formatting speech properly or overusing exclamation marks?

Although my reports follow this general structure, they are all truly bespoke to each story and writer. Before I begin reading, I will ask if there are any areas you would particularly like me to focus on. This can be a shaky beginning, letting you know if the twist at the end works, or checking that your writing fits your chosen audience. And the report would be quite different if you send me non-fiction. I would be looking for a strong voice and a narrative that flows, but I would also want to make sure that you have fully explained your premise and that each chapter compounds and expands on this until we reach a satisfying conclusion.

These reports are always littered with suggestions and hints to help you make a start on any weaker areas of your story. My hope is that my feedback will help not only this story shine, but your writing in general. And I am always available for questions after you’ve received your report, whether you just want to use me as a sounding board for new ideas or check you’ve understood one of my comments.

OPTION TWO – LINE-BY-LINE QUERY PACKAGE CRITIQUE

This feedback option focuses on the all-important query package that you will need prepped to send out to agents and publishers. I know personally how tiring and difficult perfecting this can be (you can read more about my querying journey here), and I try to give feedback that is both specific and kind. The advice I give again and again is to listen to the person you’re sending it to! Lots of agencies and publishing houses give great advice on what they want you to include in a query package, so if you’re completely stumped that is a good place to start.

You will receive line-by-line feedback on:

  • Your letter – is it the right length and is all the information relevant? Does your elevator pitch capture interest? Is your plot summary too detailed or too vague? Have you been specific about your hook and what makes your main character interesting? Have you detailed a threat? Have you used up-to-date comparison titles? Have you included all the information like word-count and genre? Is the focus on your story, rather than yourself?
  • Your synopsis – does it make sense? Are there any sub-plots included that could be pruned? Have you established your main character and their setting? Is the threat/conflict clear? Does each plot point flow into the next? Is your climax clear? Is your conclusion satisfying?
  • Your first three chapters – is your first line engaging? Do you introduce your main character quickly and create room for the reader to relate to them? Is the setting clear? Is the dialogue realistic and engaging? Does each chapter leave me wanting more? Does the third chapter end with some reason that agents would have to request more?

Alongside the line-by-line feedback, I will also produce a short report detailing any larger scale triumphs and areas to work on. Your letter might need some restructuring to make sure that it grabs interest, your synopsis might need some characters cut or the central theme made clearer, or your first chapters might need to show more character agency or establish a clearer launch point for the rest of the story.

I hope that this feedback will leave you with the tools you need to query agents and publishers with confidence. If you’d like to get started now, I’ve written several blogs about how to write a great query package, which you can find here.

OPTION THREE – DETAILED FULL MANUSCRIPT EDIT

This is a great option if you’ve polished your manuscript to a high standard and want to pinpoint key issues on a page-by-page level. This is also a good option for poetry collections. While I will produce a short report on the same areas listed in option one, I will also highlight specific areas that work well or need tightening. This will help you to make your prose clearer, your dialogue shine, and your characters realistic and relatable.

You can expect 3 to 5 notes per page focusing on your use of language, decisions made about each character’s appearance, and any distracting sub-plots. I will always point out those things that are working really well, but will make sure to also detail any areas that would jolt a reader out of your story. Although this is not a copy-editing or proof-reading service, I will point out any grammatical or technical mistakes that I spot.

To get an idea of my prices and to see what others have had to say about my editing services, head over to my editing services page. Whichever option you decide to go for, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with any questions – just email thebrittonbookgeek@gmail.com

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