Novel writing is a lonely art. To complete a book, we have to sit alone writing word after word, page after page, gradually building a world only we can see, until we finally get it down on the page in a way that is clear and compelling enough to lure the reader into its grasp and keep her engaged throughout.
How do we know if we’re on target? A good beta reader can help diminish the loneliness and give an author a helping hand, but there comes a time when every manuscript needs the eye of an experienced editor to support the transition from finished manuscript to polished book.
Being an editor as well as an author, I’ve felt the relief and excitement from both sides of the fence when story craft issues are identified and revised in a content edit. And once the copy edit smooths out writing mechanics, honing a novel into a truly great ride for the reader, it’s like icing on the cake.
One of the most important aspects of editing is the ability to zero in on what works best for a particular novel’s world and for the author’s narrative voice. One size does not fit all.
The necessary elements for a successful romance novel differ greatly from those of epic fantasy or dystopian fiction. Even within crime fiction, the demands are not the same. The breakneck pacing of a political thriller does not suit a warm and fuzzy cozy mystery. And neither of those genres calls for the heroine getting her man at the end—a must in romantic suspense. A new adult heroine isn’t going to use the same kind of language or phrasing as an older widow in women’s fiction. And words that sound pompous or archaic in the mouth of a Navy SEAL hero might be just fine for a character in a historical romance.
I love being an editor who can help a fellow author turn a manuscript into the book of her dreams. If you have an editing question or would like to work with me, contact me at my proofreading and editing website—and be sure to check out my testimonial page. 🙂
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Alicia Street is a USA TODAY bestselling author and Daphne Award-winner often writing in collaboration with her husband, Roy, as well as on solo projects. She spent many years as a dancer, choreographer and teacher. A compulsive reader of every genre, she also loves watching old black-and-white movies and inventing new recipes for soups.