Guest Posts

5 Editing Terms All Indie Authors Should Know #GuestPost by Claire Jennison

As a writer, we have the craft to create worlds, characters, and their stories. Inside our heads, those stories run like an all-singing, all-dancing movie. (Well, they do in mine…) but do our words convey this same effect for a reader?

Often, we are so close to the story we have created, it is hard to spot where we may need to make changes, add or remove items, spot crutch words (Oh, I have compiled a list, a mile long, of mine).

This is where editing comes in.

And as an Indie author, I remember the mind boggling at the different aspects of editing; the different stages that your book baby goes through, to become a polished piece of prose, ready to be presented to the world.

With this in mind, I am delighted to invite professional editor, Claire Jennison of Penning and Planning to step up and give us a brief outline of some of the jargon we will encounter on our second leg to publication… EDITING! Away you go, Claire!

Claire Jennison of Penning and Planning

Are you an author planning to self publish? Does some of the jargon associated with editing confuse you? If so, this blog will help!

As an indie author, you need to know exactly what editing terms, phrases and descriptions mean if you are considering using a professional editor to edit your book(s) – which you definitely should! This blog outlines and explains some common terms, demystifying the jargon often used in association with professional editing.

For example:

  • Is line editing different to copy editing?
  • What does developmental editing mean?
  • What is a Frankenstein edit?

The answers to these questions will become clear in this post!

Here is a list of 5 editing terms all indie authors should know:

  1. Sample Edit

A professional editor should offer a sample edit before they agree to edit your full manuscript/you decide to book them as your editor. Some editors offer free sample edits (usually between 500-1000 words) and some charge a set fee for sample edits (which may be then deducted off the cost of the full edit should you choose to book them).

A sample edit ensures you, as the author:

  • Know what level of editing your book needs
  • Understand what is included in the editing service
  • Feel the editor is a good fit for you and your book
  • Feel reassured the editor understands the genre expectations of your book
  • Are given a transparent price and timeframe for the editing work involved
  • Are able to evaluate the impact the edit could have on the whole manuscript

A sample edit also ensures the editor:

  • Feels you are a good fit for working together
  • Your book is ready for professional intervention
  • Feels their skills and knowledge can improve the book

Some editors will ask for a sample from the beginning of your novel, others may ask for a sample from the middle, and others may request your full manuscript and edit a section of their choosing. It depends on the editor. If a professional editor refuses to complete a sample for you, whether free or paid, I would seriously question whether they are the right editor for you.

2. Line/Copy Editing

Line editing and copy editing are usually interchangeable terms, but different editors may still mean different things when referring to each. Make sure you ask what is included in the editing service they recommend you need.

Generally, line/copy editing usually focuses on:

  • Spelling, punctuation and grammar corrections
  • Correcting incorrect words and adding missed words
  • Consistent formatting e.g. how dates/times are written
  • Character name/description/distinguishing feature(s) consistency
  • Removing writing clutter (How to cut the clutter for page-turning prose will help with this!)

3. Developmental/Structural Editing

As with line/copy editing, developmental editing and structural editing are usually interchangeable terms, but different editors may have a preference for one term or the other. Again, make sure you are clear what developmental/structural changes your editor will address in your manuscript.

Generally, development/structural editing usually focuses on big picture issues such as:

  • Plot order
  • Major plot holes
  • Pace of the book
  • Plausibility of events
  • Loose/unnecessary story threads
  • Adding or removing scenes if necessary

4. Track Changes

Track Changes is a function of Microsoft Word that most editors use, as it’s standard practice to edit manuscripts in Word. It allows editors to make changes to the body text in your manuscript, as well as add comments/suggestions using comment bubbles in the right-hand margin. Track Changes keeps track of all the amendments and suggestions for you to review when the manuscript is returned to you, which you can then accept or reject as you see fit.

5. Frankenstein Edit

A Frankenstein edit is exactly what you might imagine it to be – an embroidery of sample edits from different editors in order to get a manuscript edited for free. Needless to say, this is not good practice! Even if you think your book only needs a light line/copy edit, it is still impossible to ensure consistency throughout a full manuscript if different editors have edited different sections. In fact, it’s more likely to throw up even more problems as each editor will have their own style of editing based on their individual training and experience. Quite simply, don’t do it!

I really hope 5 Editing Terms All Indie Authors Should Know has been helpful to you as an indie author. If it has, please check out my other writing related blogs at https://penningandplanning.com/blog/

Thank you so much, Claire, for breaking down some of the intricacies of editing for us all. I hadn’t even heard of the Frankenstein Edit! Sounds rather scary, to be honest, and I can see why that wouldn’t be the best option (shouldn’t even be an option!), though with the costs sometimes being high to self publish, i can understand some inexperienced writers trying to take these cheaper shortcuts. My advice? DON’T! When you’ve spent all that time writing your story, why skimp on the editing, which will give it that polish?

And, if you want more advice, Claire has a book out, helping writers give their writing that edge, right from the beginning,

A little about Claire

As well as being an editor, proofreader and formatter, I’m an indie author too. This means I know exactly how you feel about self publishing your book. Don’t worry – we’re in this together.

I’ve been a professional editor since 2018, but I’ve been writing (and reading) obsessed since childhood. I’m an introvert and tend to live inside my own head, which is ideal for nurturing my overactive imagination!

Before creating Penning and Planning, I taught English and English literature for over 12 years, as a qualified teacher, after completing my English and Creative Writing degree. Although I possessed many transferable skills from my teaching career, I have invested in many editing, proofreading and formatting training courses over the past two years to ensure my author clients receive the best service I can possibly offer and deliver.

My professional training includes a wide range of editing, proofreading and writing courses from trusted, reputable and inspiring sources: CiEPThe PTCThe NovelryJericho WritersSelf Publishing 101 (taught by six figure indie author Mark Dawson), Plan Your Plot (taught by bestselling author Laura Jane Williams), and Self Publishing Formula’s How to Write a Bestseller (taught by bestselling author Suzy K Quinn). 

Alongside running my business, I have been a member of my local lottery funded and community interest writing group for two years. Collaboratively, we self published an anthology of short stories – Another Time Another Place – in January 2020, and our second anthology of crime based stories – Red Herrings and Blind Alleys – was published in May 2020.

Find Claire on:

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My Writing Journey, Uncategorized

Tweaks And Things – You Can Always Make It Better

So, I have my book baby in my hand.

It’s been read, reread, checked and checked again.

No room, or chance for error, right?

Wrong.

I received a (much appreciated) email from a reviewer, alerting me to a couple of missed punctuation marks and silly niggly spelling errors. She is aware of how much this book means to me, and knows how I want to put as perfect a version out there, as possible.

But how is this possible? As I said before, I read and reread countless times!

The problem is that I am too close to the story. No matter now much I read it, I gloss over bits, so end up missing thoes niggles.

I requested ideas from my main writing support group on Facebook (details below) and was given some great ideas:

  • read using a ruler so the next lines can’t distract you
  • read backwards, either from the bottom of a page up, or even from the end of the book to the beginning
  • read it out aloud in a monotone voice (impossible for me, as I am one of nature’s storytellers, and when I read aloud, I have to use expression, and accents – ask the kids in my class, and my colleagues), or
  • use a narrator facility available on most word processers like Word, and even Siri on your MacBook. Hearing your typed words spoken, can help to pick up certain discrepancies

These, along with the help of a proofreader friend of mine, allowed me to pinpoint some silly errors that grammar and spelling software would miss. Continuity errors were caught by said friend too.

Finally, I have a tweaked, polished proof, all uploaded again, and squeaky clean (well, almost. There might be a few naughty bits, but then, romance needs a teensy bit of sauce to, doesn’t it?)

And I have been busy writing content for some of the Blog Tour posts. All the bloggers I approached, have responded, and I officially have a tour planned! Next step – create the Blog Tour Banner!

I even arranged for my first book merchandise – a bookmark!

Another thing I did, was experiment with pens. Now, if you know anything about me, (and most writers), you’ll know that I am a stationery addict. I can never have enough pens or notebooks, and all the other stationery inbetween! I convinced myself that I need a special type of pen for signing my book. I am a bit specific. I love purple. My fountain pen has a bottle of purple ink that I use to fill it with. But, the ink bleeds on the paper in my book, so it’s not perfect for signing. And then, Amazon did this…

Okay, so Amazon didn’t actually do it, it was me. But think of me as the addict, and Amazon as the dealer. I have enough purple pens to experiment with, and to write with for a good long time now! Can’t say “I can’t find a pen!” now.

And then I did another thing. I mentioned a Facebook group a little earlier in the post. The group is run by our very own Sacha Black, and is called 13 Steps to Evil – Villain Masters. This group have been huge in helping me along with the last few months of my journey to getting published. From weekly accountability threads, a safe place to ask questions and get advice, writing prompts, and timely funny writer/villainous memes, to genuine friendships – I have found my writer people! Now, Sacha not only writes amazing fiction, superb writing guides and informative blog posts, but she has also started a podcast called The Rebel Author Podcast. I’ve listened to most of the episodes, and read the transripts of all. So good – I highly recommend. She’s already had some great guests, and it’s only ten episodes old! Well, now she’s branched out into her very own merchandise, and I just had to get my hands on some.

Here I am with my large mug, slouch T-shirt and spiral notebook. I know what I’ll be drinking out of, whenever I write now! Today’s Chai Latte tasted great! And if you want to check out her merchandise shop, click here.

Oh, and something absolutely amazing happened today. Someone I don’t even know posted my book and the preorder link on a Romance Facebook group. I am speechless!

Right, I must get back to that Blog Tour content, but I’ll be back soon, with a banner giving all the dates and details.

And, what are you waiting for? You know you want to put your order in!

It all started ended with that box…

Aashi’s life was all set.

Or so she thought.

Like in the Bollywood films, Ravi would woo her, charm her family and they’d get married and live happily ever after.

But then Aashi found the empty condom box…

Putting her ex-fiancé and her innocence behind her, Aashi embarks upon an enlightening journey, to another country, where vibrant memories are created, and unforgettable friendships forged.

Old images erased, new beginnings to explore.

And how can she forget the handsome stranger she meets? A stranger who’s hiding something…

My Writing Journey

Writing A Book Isn’t Easy

Writing a book isn’t easy.

Well, actually, that isn’t entirely true.

With the facilities would-be authors have at their fingertips nowadays, writing a book, and getting it out there is relatively easy.

What I should really have said was writing a good book isn’t easy.

When you have poured your blood and sweat into writing a story that you are desperate to get out into the literary world, the biggest disservice you can do is not making sure you have perfected it to the best of your ability.

And in order to create a piece of work that is ready, it requires not just the author, but a whole host of others, especially if you decided to self publish.

You need:

  • your support network behind you, both physically and virtually
  • unbiased people ready to read what you are writing, and happy to feed back truthfully
  • an editor who you gel with, someone who knows your vision, and can give you constructive advice
  • more willing readers
  • a cover designer who gets your story
  • copy editors possibly
  • some one who understands formatting to make the interior of your book look as perfect as it can
  • a group of people out there willing to help you promote your masterpiece at the right time

I’m at a crucial stage now.

I have a fantastic support network, thankfully. I have had readers feedback on my original, Ritu-edited draft.

I have reworked parts according to the feedback given.

I found a wonderful editor who has read my work and has given me all sorts of helpful advice and feedback.

I have a list of ready to read beta readers once I manage to finish the edits I wish to make to perfect my story.

I even have a cover designer who has designed a beautiful cover for what will hopefully be my first novel.

There has already been the offer of formatting from one of my dear Blog Family.

And lots of promised support when that release date finally comes to happen.

I’m still not sure of copy editing, but will look into that soon too.

But right now, I need time to get this book ready.

A couple of years ago, I used the month of August to really steam ahead with the writing of this WIP that had taken on teenage status. and it really worked. #RiNoWriMo (Ritu’s Novel Writing Month) was what I needed, and I used my blog as an accountability partner. EAch week I would update my followers on my word count and whether I managed to do what I had hoped. The encouragement I received pushed me to continue, and by the end of the month, my WIP was nearly 60,000 words longer.

Not finished but so close.

I was mentally exhausted though, unsurprisingly, because my month wasn’t devoted to writing, I still had to be a mum to my children who were at the age where they couldn’t occupy themselves for too long, so I was acting as a peace maker/screaming banshee mother as well as writing/typing away furiously.

This year, I have created another month for myself, to get this book to the stage where I can finally say “It’s ready!”.

#RiNoEdMo.

Yup, I’m sure I’ll be pulling faces like that!

I’ll be focussing my attentions on the editing required, and the changes that I need to make to my manuscript, to give it the best possible chance of being read by more than just a few people out there.

It means that certain writing challenges that I take part in on my other blog may be forfeited for a few weeks, but I think that is acceptable, in the circumstances.

“To realise a dream, you sometimes have to let go of others.”

Ritu Bhathal 2019

And I shall be updating you all on here as to my progress, so you will all be my accountability partners.

Here’s to getting this WIP to REAL BOOK state!