I have amalgamated my blog into my website at http://www.alanawoods.com
I’ve covered a lot of ground about editing in the last weeks.
This week I put a question to you.
Can you read for enjoyment and edit a document simultaneously?
I’ll say up front that I can’t.
I either read a book for pleasure—in which case I may see errors, but I’m not looking for them. Or I have my editor’s hat on and I am looking for them.
Over the years I’ve noticed another difference. When I read for pleasure I retain much of what I read long term. When I edit I become intimately involved with the subject matter for the duration of the editing process only. I tend to forget most of what I’ve worked on within days of finishing it.
How about you?
My books on Amazon
Death on Facebook: short stories for the digital age by Claude Nougat
I find it harder to review a short story collection than I do a full length novel. Instead of looking at one story development and its characters it is necessary to look at and assess multiples. But here I go.
Claude Nougat, in this collection of nine stories, shows she has a nice feel for narrative and dialogue. The quality barely wavers throughout. I say barely because sentence construction in The great hacker heist caused me to pause and re-read, and in The ice maker it was unclear to me several times who had spoken or acted.
Short story writing is an art in itself. There isn’t time to flesh out characters but the author has to convey enough in the brief time they have on page for the reader to get at least a feel for them. Same with plot line: for a short story to work the reader has to be immersed immediately as there isn’t time for preamble and scene building. The author shows she is adept at both.
The author also has an easy-to-read style which doesn’t waver throughout the stories which all revolve in some way around the problems thrown up by the digital age, be they cultural or otherwise related. It’s like listening to someone talking to you.
Let me focus on several that resonated particularly. I will not leave you behind: whew, what a story, what an ending, so matter-of-fact, so beautifully told. Diary of a 98 year old lady: so sadly real.The prince and the art dealer with its sing-song quality. It immediately brought to mind One thousand and one nights and The emperor’s new clothes.
Here’s the link to the book on Amazon
Hop over to mireillechester.blogspot for the first interview with authors Jack D Albrecht and Ashley Delay. Oh, and Pebbles from the book is making a guest appearance.
Leave a comment and you’ll be in the running for a signed hard copy.
And it’s free on Amazon today, so don’t delay getting your copy.
Read my review of this absolutely delightful book.
Click here for all the blog dates and sites
There’s a variety of ways that editors price jobs. It can be by the word, the page, the hour or a flat fee. There may be other ways but these four are the ones I’m familiar with.
Some editors charge different rates for the different levels of edit. Some charge the same rate but because a proofread takes less time than a substantive edit the total price will be less.
The range in rates is large, for example I’ve seen hourly rates ranging from $40 to $100 and I imagine there are editors out there who charge below or above that range.
Working out the total fee for by the word is simple to calculate.
By the page and hour require a bit more thought. You need to know the equation the editor uses, for example:
Paper size: A4
Type size: 12 pt Times New Roman
Words per page: I’ve seen a range from 250 to 400 words, which will give you the total number of pages to be edited.
Then you need to know what level of edit is required: proofread, copy or substantive.
A per page fee will increase depending on the level of edit.
A per hour fee is the same regardless of the edit level but the number of pages per hour will vary, for example 10 pages an hour for a proofread, 6 pages for a copy edit and 3 for a substantive edit.
If you calculate things differently I’d be interested to hear what you do.
This is a good, if very unsettling, read.
The story is taut and well told; the ending not one we would wish upon ourselves.
The plot develops well and I didn’t catch myself thinking that any particular piece was padding.
The author is economical with his descriptions but the characters are well drawn and the settings visual.
The author’s foreword is a make or break as far as wanting to continue is concerned. For me it was the make. It intrigued the hell out of me. He gives his reasons for writing the book and makes a request: that we as readers take the time to read the quotations at the top of each chapter. I have to say that they are unsettling in the extreme.
According to the author the story is based on historical fact: the third wave of Islam and the threat it poses to the Western world. That threat is what drives the fictional story of the possible kidnap of a young woman and the two retired policemen hired to find her.
Was she kidnapped? Do they locate her? You’ll have to buy and read the book to find out.
But be warned, you’re in for a few nights of very restless sleep afterwards while you mull over all the information the author puts before you.
Here’s the link to the book on Amazon.
For me the answer is yes and no.
I’ve done a lot of non-fiction editing over the years and I’ve found the way to approach it is objectively.
This is because content is usually not in question, just quality. The client doesn’t give a fig what you change as long as the finished product gets their message across in the most concise, simple and easy-to-read way possible and the language suits the organisation.
So, unless I find major problems that necessitate discussion with the client, I edit, rewrite and rearrange to my heart’s content and hand them back the finished document. But as I’ve said before, I track all of my changes so the client can check the changes.
I do it all on screen, going through the document twice. The first time I familiarise myself with the topic and form a view of what needs doing. The second time I get down to business.
Fiction I approach both objectively and subjectively.
Objectively for such things as spelling, punctuation and grammar when doing a proofread. Subjectively in relation to quality of writing and story development etc., because you need to be careful that anything you do doesn’t change the author’s voice. Mind you, some of the manuscripts I’ve read have needed a lot of work to bring out an author’s potential as a writer.
Whether I do a screen edit or a combination of screen and paper edit depends on the amount of work to be done. At the least I’ll go through the document on-screen twice, as I do with non-fiction. If more work is needed I’ll also go through it on paper. I can spread the pages out and it’s only my eye that needs to jump around to see what’s where and where I think things need moving to. I find that process so much easier to do on paper than on screen.
Once everything I’ve done on paper has been transferred to the electronic copy I’ll switch to Final view and go through the edited clean copy to make sure I haven’t missed anything.
Next week I’ll talk about how editors approach the pricing of jobs.
This is book 1 in The Go-Kids series. The author is currently working on book 6.
The book is primarily for young teenagers, I think, given that the story revolves around the main character’s 13th birthday, his anticipation of it and the disaster it becomes.
More a first instalment than a book because it ends on a cliff-hanger, it plots the course of Parker Perkins whose mother dies in chapter 1 in an attack on New York by an undisclosed enemy on his 10th birthday and abruptly ends three years later on the day of his 13th. The intervening years are ones of war; the enemy is never named and the only remaining superpower is France. Parker’s father enlists, leaving his son alone and waiting for his return.
Set in 2047 it’s the story of a boy and his friends trying to live their lives juxtaposed against seemingly distant but constantly-menacing conflict.
The story develops well as do the characters although there’s much that’s just hinted at that will no doubt be expanded upon, revealed and explained further within the series. A contributing factor could be that teenage boys want action, not character analyses in the books they read.
It could also be that—as with Harry Potter—the story and characters will grow in complexity as the series progresses. Perhaps the author sees his audience growing with his characters.
I say the book is probably primarily for young teenagers but any book, if well written, will be enjoyed by a wider audience. It’s a book I can see mysel freading to my pre-teen grandsons and enjoying almost as much as they would.
Here’s a link to the book on Amazon.
This is week nine in my series What editors do.
And it’s on the relationship between the editor and the client (author).
A good editor will be able to decide how much editing a document needs and convey that cogently to the client.
Before beginning a job the editor should provide a written quote that details the agreed level of edit, the time it will take, delivery date and cost. If payment is to be in stages, the dates/stages and amounts need to be agreed and also detailed in the quote.
The editor should state at the outset, when first approached, if they require payment for appraising a document before providing a quote.
The client may well need help to understand what information they should be seeking. In other words, don’t stint on discussion.
A good editor works at building and keeping a good relationship with the client. They know it’s important the client believes in what they can do and trusts them to do it.
The bottom line is respecting what the client has done and then showing them how it can be improved.
If the editor finishes the job with the client asking if they’d be interested in looking at their next body of work, they’ve probably done everything right.
Next week: is fiction edited differently to non-fiction?
You know this book isn’t going to end happily by the title and to begin with I wondered whether I really wanted to read a true life story that ends sadly.
Angie, the author, an American, meets Nick, a Kenyan, on a business trip to Africa. They fall in love and pledge to find a way to maintain that love and eventually make a life together.
In the two years that follow they make unsuccessful plans for a reunion until, in the end, circumstances part them forever.
The story unfolds through their correspondence (emails, text and instant messages) and the author’s journal entries. The book is divided into several parts and the intensity of feelings builds through each.
Their faith is a constant throughout. They believe God has brought them together and will eventually resolve the problems that keep them apart.
In the Preface the author notes that to keep the integrity of the original writings she has retained Nick’s African terminology and grammar. He uses Swahili and words from his tribal language Luo. It shifts the book up a gear from being a plain gut-wrencher to completely absorbing for the insights into his life that it gives.
What makes this book memorable for me is its utterly candid nature. The author bares her heart and soul. It would be a hard heart that isn’t drawn in to the emotion that she makes no attempt to mask.
Here’s the link to the book on Amazon.