I don’t know what the product of other editors is, but I thought it might be of interest to you to see what one of my clients receives from me. The example screen captures are for different authors, both of them strong writers (one is also an editor). The samples below are typical of the annotated pages in the Word file I send of the edited manuscript.
I edit a manuscript in three passes.
- On-screen, using Word’s Track Changes and Comment features, to give notes and coaching, and to make deletions and additions as I go. The primary objective is to learn the story and experience the characterization, but many typos and “opportunities” are noted along the way.
- On paper. I print out a hard copy because the reading experience is so much different. I sometimes make as many notes on the hard copy as I did in the first on-screen look.
- On-screen a third time after adding in all the notes and edits from the hard-copy edit. It sometimes amazes me at the many things I see in this third pass that I didn’t in the first two. I suspect the reason is that much of the stuff that got in the way of the narrative has been cleaned up and that lets the smaller, less apparent shortcomings show up.
Here’s an example of the edited first page of a client’s novel. You know how picky I am about first pages, so it should be no surprise that there are LOTS of notes (the mass of pink comment balloons to the right).
Below is a typical page deeper into a manuscript. There will be additions and deletions as well as a comment or two. My comments often deal with word choice or writing technique such as pointing out the use of a filter and a suggestion for avoiding it.
I also generate a several-page critique letter that digs into writing and storytelling issues in a novel manuscript, although the comments sprinkled throughout do that as well, but more specifically. Comments in a manuscript can run to fewer than 100 (the editor’s story) to 400 or 500, depending on the level of writing and story craft.
What's your experience? If you’ve had a professional edit, let me know what you received as a result.
© 2015 Ray Rhamey