As a writer, you’re bound to make mistakes. Whether it’s mixing up threads in a complex plot, muddling sentence structures, or forgetting to add punctuation, there’s a lot that can go wrong when your mind is trying to balance everything at once.
An editor works to eliminate errors in your writing. Even the best authors require an editor to catch any inconsistencies in their work. It’s impossible to do it all yourself; having someone look at a manuscript with fresh, professional eyes is always beneficial. An editor can…
Share professional advice:
Most editors have trained in their craft and are therefore able to offer professional advice. What does this mean? If you, for example, are unsure of how to organise a particular phrase or if you don’t know where a comma or semicolon should go, an editor can help you. Editors are knowledgeable about grammar, punctuation, language and structure and depending on the level of service they provide, should be able to aid you with your manuscript.
Save time and frustration:
As a writer, it’s easy to spend hours poring over pages and paragraphs wondering how to improve them. It can be frustrating to look at the same sentence over and over again and not know how to make it sound better. An editor can save you time and frustration by making suggestions on how you could improve your work. They should never make changes without showing you first unless you have agreed otherwise.
Offer a fresh, objective fair of eyes:
It is common knowledge that editing your own work is never a wise idea. By the time your manuscript is ready for editing, it is too familiar for you to effectively edit it yourself. As authors, our brains tend to assume what’s written, rather than what is there. However carefully you read a sentence, your memory of early drafts and knowledge of the backstory can subconsciously confuse the process. An editor can look at your work with fresh, objective eyes and will often spot inconsistencies that you never even noticed.
Help you develop your ideas:
Not all editors can help you at this stage. Proofreaders, for example, will check your manuscript for small errors like typos or grammatical hiccups. If you’re looking for help with the plot itself, then you will need a developmental editor. A developmental editor can help you structure your plot and grow your ideas. They can offer advice on writing style, plot timelines, character arcs, and much, much more.
Help create a better flow:
Flow refers to the readability of a manuscript. Each scene or chapter should flow seamlessly into the next, allowing readers to become fully immersed in your story. Messy chronologies, sudden time jumps, multiple perspectives, and poor language and structure can all interrupt the flow of a story. Getting these elements right can dramatically improve the fluency of your writing.
Improve your use of language:
Not all authors are brilliant at using language effectively. For some, their skill lies in the storytelling, not in the refinement of language. While this is perfectly acceptable, asking an editor to improve this aspect is helpful. The importance of language is often overlooked, particularly in modern writing, but using the right words can dramatically improve your story and give it a greater impact.
To sum up
So next time you’re wondering whether an editor can help you, the answer should be yes. If you are planning to self-publish, an editor is a must. If you’re planning to submit to an agent or publisher, you may think twice. Should your manuscript be successful, it will go through rigorous editing anyway. However, most agents and publishers are looking for high-quality submissions; asking an editor to help you prepare your manuscript can be game-changing.