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    « Aids to Senior Recall for a Memoir or Family History | Main | Know the Audience for Your Memoir or Family History »
    Thursday
    Mar182010

    A Personal Editor From Start to Finish 

    When we talk to people who want to create a memoir or family history book, many of them say I have a lot to get finished before I’ll need an editor. The reason indicates a basic misconception of the role of an editor. These novice writers see an editor as the person who “corrects” their errors in mechanics, usage, punctuation and spelling. What they often don’t understand is that copy editing and proof reading are the final step in the editorial process.

    An editor’s most important role is in helping the writer to tell her story effectively. This is called a content edit or substantive edit. The editor helps the writer decide, “Do my stories communicate what I wanted to communicate in the way I wanted to communicate it?” Some of the things you will want to look for as you read are:

    • Does the draft “hang together?” Is it coherent? Are the stories presented in a logically consistent order? If not, how might they 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? If so, which details might you need to add to make your meaning more clear?

    • Are there places where you have told the reader too much? Have you gone off on a tangent which has taken you away from the story you wanted to tell? Have you repeated yourself? Will your book be clearer if you cut out some excess?


    The earlier in the writing process the editor is involved the more she can help the writer create the highest quality manuscript possible. That’s why at Stories To Tell we promise our authors a personal editor from start to finish.

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