This editorial service, which combines thorough language editing with just a touch of developmental support, is unique to Landmark Editorial. Intelligent copy-editing is my most popular service, and it’s ideal for authors who want a compromise option between language-only copy-editing and intensive developmental editing.
In a straightforward copy-edit, I focus on language only; it is beyond the remit of copy-editing to make suggestions for content development. At the other end of the spectrum, in a developmental edit I roll up my sleeves and work to develop all the other aspects of the book, like structure, pace, plot, characters and setting. I devised intelligent copy-editing to bridge the gap between these two different services with a cost-effective package for authors.
Why commission intelligent copy-editing?
In a publishing house, a book goes through at least one round of developmental editing before copy-editing, followed by proofreading. Ideally, that is the process that all authors would follow in preparing a book for publication, to make it the best it can be.
However, for some authors it’s impractical to commission developmental editing for a book followed by copy-editing and then proofreading. Perhaps the budget won’t stretch that far. Perhaps the clock is ticking and there isn’t time for all those editorial stages. Perhaps the author doesn’t want rigorous developmental input, which can be too invasive.
The obvious answer is to commission a copy-edit only, and skip developmental editing entirely. But what if your book contains glaring developmental issues, the kind that reviewers will delight in pointing out? For example:
- Your book is set in Victorian times, but characters are eating Pop Tarts.
- Your protagonist is from East London, but he speaks like he’s from Eton.
- In a book on the causes of World War I, you include a history of the Cold War.
- A character you introduce early on in the book disappears midway through.
- All of your chapters are short and punchy, except Chapter 2, which is epic.
- Your heroine has been stabbed and shot, but she seems fine.
- You describe a forty-five year old as an ‘old man’.
- The hero of your children’s fantasy novel has a lightning-bolt scar on his forehead.
Your kindly copy editor may point out a major problem (I usually do), but it’s beyond the scope of copy-editing to keep flagging up developmental issues. That’s where my intelligent copy-editing service comes in: thorough copy-editing with a dash of developmental input, to cover both bases.
My intelligent copy-editing service
The service comprises:
- Copy-editing: Thorough language polishing as per the description on the copy-editing page, to ensure the text reads well and is clear, consistent and accurate.
- Flagging major developmental issues: I comment on glaring issues that jump out at me as I copy-edit. For example, I may:
- Note that I find a plot element to be unrealistic.
- Draw your attention to a disorientating point-of-view shift.
- Query your timeline.
- Comment on your structuring.
- Ask you to reconsider an argument.
- Suggest that dialogue doesn’t sound realistic.
The emphasis is on language editing, and so the edited manuscript I return is not littered with developmental comments. Still, there are plenty of queries and suggestions for the author to consider. For an average-length novel, you can expect more than 100 comments to help you develop your book.
Please note: My intelligent copy-editing service does not involve detailed and thorough developmental guidance; for that, you need developmental editing.