Am I bit nervous about writing this email because it may be controversial?
But has fear of controversy ever stopped iconic artists like Madonna?
So I’m going to take a cue from the blonde pop princess and live my truth boldly.
The most important type of editing is developmental editing.
Not copyediting or proofreading.
For those who are not sure what I’m talking about, developmental editing focuses on the big picture/content parts of your book while copyediting is concerned with word choice and grammar. Proofreading catches things like typos. (To describe it briefly.)
Don’t get me wrong; I think all types of editing are important, but I think developmental is the most crucial.
Nobody will care if your story has flawless grammar if the plot is boring or your message is confusing. It’s like watering your flowers while your house is on fire. Sure, you want the flowers to look nice, but you are kind of ignoring a more pressing/important problem.
Look, I obnoxiously breakdown the use of story structure of WandaVision to my husband, but even I have my books developmentally edited.
Because I know I can’t see them clearly. I’m so attached to my characters in my mind that I don’t know if I’m really conveying that the protagonist is a people-pleaser to the reader or if this characteristic remained in my head and didn’t make it onto the page.
Also, people tend to be so emotionally attached to the actual content of the book that they have a harder time changing it. That’s why a developmental edit is so important. You have someone explain to you why something needs to be changed and how to do it. You have someone helping you get past those emotional barriers so you make the changes that are best for the story.
Finally, I think people learn the most from developmental editing. For me, I have learned so much more about craft and story structure from getting feedback on my work than through a book or course. You can pick up grammar pretty easily from a grammar book, but craft is best learned through direct feedback.
For some reason, this is the type of editing that people think they can skip the most. My own personal theory is that it’s because people love their stories and ideas so much that they think they are great. And you know what? They probably are, but they can always be better.
Are you ready to take the most important step of your editing process and hire a developmental editor? We would love to help you out!