You Might Need an Editor If…

by Monica Shaughnessy

I love Jeff Foxworthy. Since I grew up redneck, I always find his humor to be spot-on and terribly funny:

So when it came time for me to do this post, I just had to use a writerly version of his now-famous routine. Without further delay, I give you my list. If you see yourself on it, don’t cringe (okay, cringe a little), seek help instead. 🙂 If you see one of your friends on this list, send them a link to my post (if you dare).

You Might Need an Editor If…

  1. your picture book has nude scenes.
  2. your middle grade novel has more chapters than the bible
  3. you don’t get the whole apostrophe thing
  4. your critique group spends more time correcting your story than you did writing it
  5. the main character in your YA novel is a thirty-eight year old man with shingles
  6.  your historical novel takes place on a spaceship in the Kxplexnk Galaxy
  7. you think picking a POV is so last century
  8. your main character wants to kill YOU by the end of the book
  9. anyone has ever used your title and the words “steaming pile” in the same sentence
  10. you have a small problem with run-on sentences and by run-on I mean sentences that seem to have no end and make no sense and cause the reader to wonder when they are going to stop because the reader needs to go to the bathroom and waiting for that question mark has just become an exercise in bladder control…

Okay, apart from thinking this would be a funny blog post, I DO have an agenda. Of course I have an agenda!

Just last week, I opened a developmental editing business and am currently taking on clients. Because I’m new, I’m offering OBSCENELY low rates. As of this writing, I’m pricing my services at .005 per word for longer projects and $20 an hour for shorter projects / outline coaching. However, please be aware that my prices will rise as my client list grows. So check back with me to make sure what I’ve quoted is still valid.

My last middle grade client had this to say: “You have helped me see the novel in a whole new way. I LOVED that you broke the story line down for me, helping me to form a firm arc.” I’m hoping she’ll comment below about her experience with me. I also just finished a picture book project for another writer (review yet to come, but I know it’s positive!) and have another couple of middle grade projects lined up this summer. But I can still make time for YOUR project, dear reader.

So what can a developmental editor help you with?

  • a sagging middle
  • an uncertain beginning
  • an ending that lacks emotional punch
  • flat character arcs
  • missing or meandering subplots
  • a “messy” storyline

What can’t a developmental editor help you with?

  • grammatical errors
  • typos
  • sentence structure
  • word choice

If you’re thinking about getting help for your novel or picture book (I work on adult and children’s works–no erotica), then give me a shout in the comments below or email me at: contact@my first and last name.com (Use my actual first and last name! I never write my email address out, otherwise I get spammed too much by bots.) Even if you just want to ask a question about editing, fire away!