What do editors look for?

What do editors look for? Do you really need an editor to help you with your writing? If you are good at spelling, punctuation, and grammar, that’s what is really important. Right? No! Editors can help you with so much more. Just check out the list below:

– Are there unnecessary words, lack of clarity, complicated language, boring or incorrect vocabulary?
– Is the first chapter compelling enough that the reader can’t wait to read the rest?
– Are tone and style consistent throughout? Are the story facts consistent?
– Is the copy readable for the intended audience? Will it be interesting for the intended audience? Does the writer have a particular audience in mind?
– Does the writer have a clear purpose, and has that purpose been achieved?
– Is there a clear theme, and do the main ideas and the details relate directly to the theme?
– Will the reader interpret your message the way you mean?
– Are the plot and characters strong or compelling? If not, what can be done to strengthen them?
– Is each scene in the story plausible? How does in fit within the context of the story, and within the particular genre?
– Are there parts of the story that do not help advance the plot or character development? Is anything “missing”?
– Is there material of questionable taste, potentically libelous material, or incorrect facts?
– Does the ending or conclusion tie up all the loose ends in the story? Is it believeable and satisfying?
– Does the manuscript conform to the required style?
– Is the writing both grammatically sound and balanced in content? Both aspects are absolutely necessary.
– Is the content logical? Does it make sense?
– Are there incomplete, long or awkwardly worded, or incomprehensible sentences?
– Has the writer used passive language rather than active? Has he used direct, active, precise verbs?
– Is the author “telling” rather than “showing”?
– Is there good sentence variety (simple, complex, compound-complex)?
– Are tenses consistent? Have words like “that” or “there is/are” been overused?
– Is using swear words or other informal street language appropriate to the piece of work?
– Have precise, interesting, accurate nouns been used?
– Have too many tags been used in conversation? Or has the writer used action, setting, and other devices to make it clear who is speaking?

Did you know — editors who are also writers hire editors to check their own work, too. It is so easy to miss our own mistakes! If you have questions about editing, check out the other posts on this blog … or email me with your specific questions.

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