After an author writes a manuscript, they revise it, revise it again times 10, and hopefully a publisher acquires the manuscript. Then the real editing begins. This edit phase is a critical behind-the-curtain process to get a manuscript ready for readers’ eyes many people don’t know happens.
An editor who works with the publishing house uses a critical eye to check for plot, character, scene, pacing, too many dialogue tags, and other content issues that might distract readers. Then they look for all of the grammar, sentence structure and punctuation you may or may not remember from your English classes in school. Editors follow the CHICAGO MANUAL OF STYLE and have an eagle eye for passive voice, overused words, run-on and fragment sentences, gerunds (the ing words), and adverbs (the ly words). A professional proofreader does the real crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s final edit before the book is formatted for e-readers and print. After a thorough 49 ¼-hour edit over 8 days, the BECKER CIRCLE manuscript draft was ready for handing over to the professionals with:
- 360 fewer instances passive-voice word culprits was, were, is and are
- 69 less uses of vague words including tried to, about to and nearly
- 832 fewer weak words that, of and it
- 319 less overused verbs like feel, know, guess, think, watch, and see
These are edits readers may never notice. To me, this tidying up is like coming home to a clean house. It just feels good.