Something about a structural edit…

business dog typewriter tie glasses

So anyways, the structural edit has come back for Big Girls Don’t Cry. There’s work to be done- of course there is, but on the whole, I’m pretty happy. Thankfully Nicola, my editor, likes the story and the characters- so that’s a great big sigh of relief from me.

The biggest piece of rewriting is in the first 4 or 5 chapters. I swap from current to back story a bit through these and it feels clunky. Nicola has come up with some ideas to streamline this and keep the pace moving forward.

Naturally there’s more throughout the manuscript as well, but none of it rankles with me and all of Nicola’s suggestions make perfect sense.

What’s a structural edit, I hear you ask? Rather than looking at grammatical details, typos and spelling issues, a structural edit does a deep dive into:

  • Pacing
  • Plot
  • Theme
  • Characterisation
  • Voice
  • Perspective/ Point of View
  • Consistency
  • Readability

A good editor should be able to provide suggestions that shape and organise the manuscript- with a view to improving the flow of words, and the overall telling of the story. A good editor should be able to do all of this while keeping in mind my- the writer’s- intention.

What you should get back from a structural edit is:

  • A report giving you an overall idea of the shape that the manuscript is in, the parts that the editor thinks works…overall…and the areas that don’t.
  • A marked up copy of your manuscript with constructive comments and suggested alternatives or rewrites.

Some editors will split this into two parts, and quote for each separately. In these cases, you’ll get a report or assessment done on your manuscript, an opportunity to put the suggestions into practice, and then the structural edit will be an additional step. This can be good if you want to prepare a manuscript for submission, have no idea which direction the story is heading in, or simply want to know what track you’re on.

Generally speaking, your structural report should help you look under the covers of your manuscript- see the wood amongst the trees…so to speak. It may contain suggestions regarding moving chapters, changing tense or perspective and possibly sending your characters in a different direction than you had planned for them. Some suggestions you’ll agree with, some you’ll dig your heels in about.

The end point to all of this is to make your story the best that it can possibly be.

Your editor will usually quote you an approximate price based on word count and anticipated hours. The more work your manuscript needs, the longer your structural report and the higher the price…it’s that simple, so it makes good economic sense to have your work as tight as you know how to make it before sending it through.

What’s next?

Now I have to buckle down and work through the re-write. Then it’s copy edit time- when those pesky grammatical and spelling issues are highlighted and corrected. My editor is busy, so to make sure I’m working to deadline, I’ll book that in now.

In between, I need a cover…and to decide on a publication date.

I’ll keep you posted on that.

Comments

3 comments on “Something about a structural edit…”
  1. Deborah says:

    I’m really glad the structural edit went well. The make-or-break point most definitely. Nicola sounds great!

    1. Jo says:

      I was thinking, we need a Skype catch up one of these nights…I have some nagging to do about your novel…

  2. Jo says:

    Yeah, she’s great…& as attached as I am to some of my (I think) more brilliant sentences, she’s also more often than not right.

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