How to Create a Style Sheet for Your Manuscript

How to Create a Style Sheet for Your Manuscript If you’ve been writing books for long, you may have come across the challenge of keeping the details straight so that you can be consistent throughout the book. If the hero has blue eyes on page 1, he shouldn’t have green eyes on page 50. If your non-fiction book capitalizes “Servant Leadership” in the first half, it shouldn’t be lowercase in the second half. But how do you keep track of these things without having to rely on your memory? You could create an Editorial Style Sheet. This is what editors do when they line-edit or copyedit your book. It’s ultimately their responsibility to see that everything is as correct and consistent as possible throughout your book, so as they’re editing, they write down details; names of people, places, businesses and all...
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My Editor Wants Me to Change What??

My Editor Wants Me to Change What?? Guest blogger: Richard Mabry, M.D. (@RichardMabry) I had delivered my latest manuscript to my publisher, and a few weeks later received my revision notes from the editor. I was, to put it mildly, caught off guard. The notes suggested some pretty big changes. As I read through them, I kept saying, “But that’s not what I had in mind.” I wondered why the editor wanted to rewrite my manuscript. Aren’t I the writer here? Isn’t my name on the book? I wasn’t happy. But after sitting with it a few more days… I noticed that my in-house editor, my substantive editor, and my beta reader (yes, my wife) had all made the same suggestion for the opening. Hmm. I started rewriting, and amazingly enough, it was all coming together.  By the time I’d reached...
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What Does a Book Edit Look Like?

What Does a Book Edit Look Like? Whether you’re working with a traditional publisher or you’re self-publishing your book, the only way to ensure excellence in your final product is to put your work through a rigorous editorial process, consisting of more than one round of editing. Following are the three basic types of editing that your manuscript may go through. Every publisher has their own process, and they may call each step of the process by a different name.   1. The Content Edit (developmental, substantive, or macro edit; sometimes simply called revisions.) This is where the editor gives big-picture notes. Fiction: plot, characterization, scene crafting, POV’s, and all the other elements of your story. Non-fiction: logical flow of ideas, readability, strength of argument, interest level. The...
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What Does the Editing Process Look Like?

What Does the Editing Process Look Like? Several of you have been curious about editing inside a publishing house. Every publisher has their own process, and they may call each step by a different name. It’s basically three steps, and they’re usually done sequentially, although there is overlap and not every publisher does all three of these steps. The edits might be done by one person, or two or three people. 1. The Macro Edit (developmental, substantive, or content edit; often simply called revisions.) This is where the editor gives big-picture notes on plot, characterization, scene crafting, POV’s, and all the other elements of your story. They don’t actually edit your work, they simply give you a set of notes and send you back to work on your revisions. 2. The Line Edit. The editor works directly in...
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Quality Books Take Time

Quality Books Take Time Back in the early ’80s there was an ad campaign for Paul Masson wine where Orson Welles famously uttered, “We will sell no wine before its time.” The message was powerful; it conveyed, “We care so much about producing the highest quality wine that we refuse to rush the process. We won’t try to bring it out faster to increase profit. We won’t skimp on the craftsmanship that makes our wine so good. It takes time, and we will give our wine the time it needs.” I couldn’t help thinking about that as I considered what I wanted to say today about the time and craftsmanship it takes to write a high quality book. I’m not talking about a book that everyone has to love. I’m talking about a book that has the basics: a solid story,...
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