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What to look for in a Professional Editor

After eleven years of writing, attending workshops and travelling to conferences, I’m glad I’ve picked up a few things, and not just the wine glass at the after party.

I’ve had my writing looked at by beta readers, editors and publishers who have given me feedback and advice on my manuscripts to bring them to a publishable standard.

Being adept at receiving criticism on both craft and story telling, there have been times when I’ve been able to spot a fraud. Meaning, I’ve had interviews with ‘professionals’ who really don’t seem to know how to help a writer.

Whether you score an interview with an editor by submitting your manuscript to a competition, or you choose to hire one, it shouldn’t matter – they should all know their stuff.

Some items they should address –

  • Story arc
  • Structure
  • Grammar
  • Dialogue
  • Showing vs telling
  • Character development, motivation
  • Reader connection to character
  • Logic and reasoning
  • Genre and readership
  • Pace, tension and hooks

Do you get the idea? Editing isn’t just spelling and writing a compelling first chapter.

They should be able to explain what a dangling participle is, show you where you’ve written one, and how to fix it. Well, a good editor would anyway.

If you’re looking for an editor, my suggestion it so to contact the Writers’ Centre of your state. If an editor is any good, they will have affiliations with the centres and can be recommended to you. Or else, ask another writer who’s traditionally published as they should have a list of contacts.

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