Sometimes it’s hard to tell if you need an editor. Sometimes, it’s not so hard. Take a look at this:
This is a prime example of many things… like why only using spellcheck/grammar check isn’t your best bet. And why spelling and grammar aren’t the only things that make good writing.
WHAT MAKES GOOD WRITING?
Even if we copyedit and correct the mistakes Word caught (and missed), this paragraph still makes no sense.
The paragraph’s syntax is about as far away as those netherworld strawberries!
These sentences are so poorly formed that we can’t fully understand or appreciate what’s being said.
Girls from outer space harvesting strawberries from hell (or the afterlife, however you want to look at it) to then make ice cream with them sounds fantastic! It’s a great mix of fantasy and hilarious.
But what the hell is going on with this? How does this story come together? Where can it go?
Structural editing is like arranging ideas in size order. Ideas are organized according to the progression of a topic, the theme of your writing, and audience need.
An editor makes a (nether)world of difference here, especially in fictional and academic writing.
This disjointed tale of female alien girls, strawberries, IHOB and $50 could be sexy. It could be philosophic. It could even be indie social commentary. But at this rate, we’ll never know. The writer will need an editor to map this out.
Here’s another example:
Not nearly as wild as fruit from hell, but noteworthy because these are all great ideas.
But some of these ideas don’t lead into others. Some need further explanation. And some make it hard to figure out exactly what the argument is.
(And how do you, as a reader, know if you should care if you don’t know what the argument is?)
OK, I NEED AN EDITOR. BUT HOW DO I KNOW WHAT KIND OF EDITING I NEED?
Well, let’s figure this out!
If you have anything else, click the links below to get started:
Copyediting – for help with word choice, spelling, grammar, and typos.
Structural editing – to keep ideas in order, to support an argument, or to maintain a certain theme.
Line editing – to make sure everything–words, sentence structure, ideas, delivery–is absolutely perfect.