I’ve worked with self-publishing authors for several years now. They often live in an isolated writing world without that traditional publisher to guide them along. They might send their finished manuscript out to friends to “evaluate” but otherwise aren’t sure if their story is a good read.
When I work with a self-publishing author, I begin by proposing a manuscript evaluation, which is the first step in developmental editing. This first pass gives the writer an overall idea of whether or not their story line and characters (for fiction) or topic organization and narrative (nonfiction) actually hold the reader’s interest.
The Process Compared to Copy Editing
Instead of going into sentence detail to focus on grammar and other writing mechanics, I keep my mind on reading for content and story progression. For fiction, I track characters and look for lapses in how the writer describes them and makes them behave. I also track the plot sequence to see if there’s anything that doesn’t make sense as I go along. And finally, I just get a feel for how the whole thing works (or doesn’t) for a reader. Fiction or nonfiction, I want to remain curious but not confused. There can be mystery, but the writer needs to create it consciously. Let me step fully into your story and go along for the ride (or the flight)!
The Joy of the ME
I find manuscript evaluation to be extremely satisfying work. I have my own creative writing (mostly poetic in form—keeps me from rambling), but I love being able to contribute in this way to another writer’s creation. It’s like watching a flower bloom or a child discover her own drawing skill.
I also enjoy the more mechanical aspects of copy editing and proofreading, but this work of supporting stories is just goosebumps to the extreme.
PS: Let me know when I can help you meet your geni(e)us. 🙂