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Copyediting for fiction

Who is this service for?

It's primarily for writers who intend to self-publish. You’ve written several drafts, and probably consulted trusted readers or a professional about key story elements – structure, plot, pace, characterisation and point of view. You aren’t going to make any big changes now and have stopped writing.

How will copyediting help your text?

Copyediting focuses on consistency and clarity at word and sentence level. It aims to eliminate anything that could disrupt a reader’s engagement with your story. 

As editors offer different things as part of copyediting, here’s a list of the aspects of your manuscript I’ll check:

  • Spelling, grammar and punctuation

  • Consistency (e.g. capitalisation, hyphenation, quotation marks, spelling of names)

  • Ambiguous or confusing sentences

  • Sentence flow

  • Unintended repetition of words, phrases and actions

  • Dialogue tags, action beats and overuse of ‘throat-clearing’ (e.g. ‘um’, ‘er’, ‘well’)

  • Consistency in minor plot and timeline details (e.g. the time it takes a character to do something or get somewhere)

  • Loose ends (e.g. a forgotten character, an unresolved subplot)

  • Minor continuity issues

  • Consistent character traits

  • Similar character names

  • Minor point of view issues*

  • Paragraph format (full out and indented)

  • Consistent format of extracts (e.g. letters, emails and diary entries)

  • Position of chapter and section breaks

  • Basic fact-checking (spelling of places, buildings and products; historical dates)

*I'll highlight any drops in POV I notice. Major POV work is not possible at the copyediting stage.

I don’t comment on stylistic issues such as told versus shown prose or the rhythm of your writing.

It’s still your story, your writing

I work in Word, and my corrections and suggestions will be visible in Word’s Track Changes (above). It’s up to you which you accept and which you reject. I'll use the Comments function for explanations and questions. 

I’ll do a free sample edit

To help you decide if we’d work well together, I’ll edit 1000 words from your manuscript (preferably from the middle). I’ll use this sample to provide a quote.

Contact me about a sample edit

What does it cost?

I'll need to see a sample to provide a quote, but the minimum rate is usually £12 per 1000 words. My fee covers one full pass of your manuscript only, plus implementing the responses to any questions I've asked you.

Important: Copyediting isn't a final prepublication check

Proofreading is the final stage before publication. Sometimes errors are introduced during copyediting, especially if there are a lot of changes. Find someone in your network with excellent attention to detail to help you if the budget doesn't allow for professional proofreading.

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