I was going to initially titled this, “What type of editing do you do?”
But then I realized that I wasn’t looking for answers like substantive editing or copy editing or proofreading.
I wanted to know about your belief system in regards to editing. What do you hope to PROVIDE to the client, essentially.
A few days ago, I began to think about this. This year, I have edited SO many manuscripts, and I began to wonder, “Why did these people pick ME to trust with their baby?” Many of them came by recommendation, so somewhere out there, there are satisfied customers that think enough about what I do to recommend my talents to other writers.
So, I’ll ask myself, “What is my editing philosophy?”
My short answer: To help writers become better at the craft of writing.
My longer answer: Yes, I want clients to be happy with the results of my edits. I want them to see that I cared about grammar and mechanics. That I cared about rhythm and pacing. That I cared about character development. That I cared about the overall story development. I want them to feel as if their baby – which they just delivered – was made shiny and beautiful. The same baby they birthed – but clean.
However, when I edit, I do try to teach, too. I explain why I make the changes I do. Sometimes, I direct writers to books to help hone their skills.
I liken how I edit to how I teach. If a student’s essay is riddled with fragments, I don’t say, “You have fragments” and immediately fix them. I sit and discuss what fragments are, I explain how to fix them, and then I ask the student to tell me how he/she would fix the error. This is how they learn to become better writers of academic essays.
In editing, I do the changes – after all, that’s what I’m paid to do; however, I also explain how I fixed the issues and why so that at the end of an editing experience, a writer might say, “Thank you for making my book better and making me a better writer. I know my next work will be better than this one because you helped me understand the craft of writing.”
So, what is YOUR editing philosophy?