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    « Association of Personal Historians | Main | An Interview, Using Oral History Techniques »
    Thursday
    Apr232009

    The Role of an Editor

    Gerald Gross in the preface to his book Editors on Editing: What Writers Need to Know About What Editors Do says, “…the editor [is] a caring professional who loves writers and is dedicated to helping the writer to say what the writer wants to say in the most effective way…”

    At Stories To Tell, your editor answers only to you, and works to refine your book, keeping it true to your voice and your goals. She reads your manuscript in two ways: content editing (the big picture) and copy editing (the small picture).

    During the content edit your editor will help you improve your manuscript by considering questions like:
    • Does the draft “hang together?” If not, how might your stories be better ordered?
    • Are there places which might confuse the reader? How might they be revised to produce greater clarity?
    • Are there places where you haven’t told the reader everything she will need to know to fully understand your story?
    • Are there places where you have told the reader too much? How will your book flow more smoothly if you cut out some of the excess?

    During the copy edit your editor’s focus will be on the sentence and word level. Your editor will help you recognize and correct:
    • Undesirable / unintended words or phrases
    • Errors in content, such as facts or names that are incorrect
    • Grammatical errors
    • Errors in spelling or punctuation

    Probably the greatest value in working with an editor is that she reads your manuscript objectively. Authors are (naturally) very attached to their stories, and find it difficult to critique their own book. As an editor, it is much easier to be analytical and helpful, without being critical. Our editors use skill and experience to help you to bring your manuscript to its full potential.

    -Nancy Barnes

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