What kind of editing?

Reader-friendliness is the goal of all my editing. You have important ideas you want to get across to readers, and I want to help you communicate them as clearly and compellingly as possible. That way, readers will get right to the heart of your argument and all the information and ideas that you want them to know.

I offer three main kinds of editing that reflect the three kinds of help that academic and nonfiction authors most often want. You may want one of these kinds of editing or a combination.

Basic Editing: Grammatical Correctness

Many elements of writing are about stylistic choice, but in a basic edit, I focus on those elements that are about correctness and incorrectness. In a basic edit, I focus on ensuring correct spelling, grammar, punctuation, capitalization, and basic word usage. Otherwise, I strive to leave your original prose intact as much as possible. This level of editing is often particularly helpful for authors whose first language is not English.

Deep Editing: Clarity and Flow

A deep edit also ensures grammatical correctness but goes well beyond that to promote clarity and flow at the level of sentences and paragraphs. In a deep edit, I may make more substantial changes to your original phrasing to ensure clear sentence structure; logical ordering of sentences within paragraphs; straightforward, graceful, and concise phrasing; smooth transitions; and appropriate use of active and passive voice. I focus on readability and help you translate complex ideas into reader-friendly language. If your writing is scholarly, I can help you minimize “academese” to appeal to readers outside your area of specialization while retaining the specificity of your ideas. The result is a document that says clearly and compellingly exactly what you want to say. This level of editing is helpful for many authors, including:

  • Professionals who are too pressed for time to edit their own work to the level that they would like.
  • Nonnative speakers of English who want their document to read as though it were written by a native speaker of American English.
  • Authors who are confident in their ideas but want their writing to flow more naturally.

Developmental Editing: Argument, Content, and Organization

Many authors are looking for more broad-based feedback on bigger questions like these:

  • Which of the points I’m making should be my main argument? How do I highlight that argument throughout the document?
  • Does the way I’ve organized my manuscript make sense?
  • Are there sections I should develop more? Are there any I should delete or condense?
  • How can I best respond to feedback I’ve received from reviewers, journal editors, or advisors?
  • What’s working in the document, what’s not working as well, and how do I fix the parts that aren’t working as well as I would like them to?

A developmental edit helps with these kinds of questions. I read your manuscript with its main purpose in mind—or, if you’re not sure about its main purpose, I look for clues to help you identify its main purpose. Then I find ways to refine your manuscript’s content, structure, and phrasing to best achieve that purpose. I can make these changes myself, or I can offer margin comments and written notes to help you make them.

This kind of editing may be for you if:

  • You would love thoughtful feedback from a colleague, but your colleagues are too busy to provide the kind of in-depth feedback that you’d like.
  • You feel burdened by the solitary nature of writing. You’d like to hear what a thoughtful reader might suggest as you work on revising your initial drafts. Or you’ve been revising and wrestling with your manuscript for a long time, feel caught in your own head, and want the perspective of a qualified outside reader.
  • You want to ensure that your manuscript presents your ideas in as compelling and clear way as possible.

Not sure which of these kinds of editing you might like? Please e-mail me! Attach your manuscript (or as  much of it as you have available) as an MS Word document, tell me what questions and concerns you have, and let me know if you’d like to talk about it, either over the phone or in person.