What a top editor does for you. People often ask, “What sort of input does an editing client receive from her/his Memoir Network editor?” The answer, of course, varies according to the client. No two receive the same response. We always individualize. You persist in asking, “Yes, yes, but what sort of manuscript input can […]
You have worked long and hard to write your memoir. You are ready to turn the computer off and receive the accolades you feel you deserve!
Wouldn’t it be great to have “There I’ve gotten it all out and that’s that with my memoir” be the same as “the story is ready to affect the reader”?
At some level, you are ready to move on, but, wait! is your memoir ready for its audience? Is what you have a penultimate draft rather than a ready-to-be-published manuscript? It may even be a very good draft but it’s probably not the finished manuscript you are hoping it is.
This is the time to work with an editor. Every writer ought to engage an editor before moving a manuscript on to the public. When you think your writing is completed, you probably need memoir editing. An editor will help you to identify and make the decisions you must make to bring the story, its theme and its promise, out in the open for all to appreciate. An editor will assess your pacing and shaping and help you tighten both.
The information in these posts will help you with these tasks. After you’ve read the posts, come over to our editing services pages and check out how The Memoir Network can help you to generate the best manuscript you are capable of.
Memoir writers can achieve much alone. But, it is also true that working with a memoir professional can cut down the time it takes to produce a book of memoirs and can significantly jack up the quality.
All About the Memoir Editing Process
When I begin the memoir editing process with clients, I tell them that a proper editing requires three “read-throughs.” It is impossible to give a manuscript all the attention it deserves in one reading.
Reading a manuscript without doing any specific editing and forming only a general impression has always seemed a good idea in theory, but I have not found a way to do so that is economical. I have therefore evolved this concept of read-throughs as a memoir editing technique. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]
Note from the Editor: This third installment of Before Sending a Manuscript to an Editor series offers basic editing tips around time sequencing and flashbacks. For Part 1: Self-Editing Techniques Click here. For Part 2: Use of Time Click here.
A writer can effect these tips to bring a manuscript to a higher level of finish before sending the piece off to a professional editor. In this section, I write about use of time: specifically, cause and effect time sequencing and flashbacks. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]
Note from the Editor: This second installment of Before Sending a Manuscript to an Editor series offers basic editing tips around time use of time. For Part 1: Self-Editing Techniques Click here. For Part 3: Time Sequencing and Flashbacks Click here
Clean Up Your Use of Time
This second post on self-editing revolves around the use of time. In the next post, I will write about time sequencing and flashbacks.
1. The historical present looks like the past, but it isn’t.
What tense are you going to use to narrate your story?
Note from the Editor: This first installment of Before Sending a Manuscript to an Editor series offers basic editing tips around self-editing techniques. For Part 2 Use of Time Click here. For Part 3 Time Sequencing and Flashbacks Click here
Self-Editing Techniques and Tips
I have been a memoir and fiction editor since 1990. In that time, I have worked with hundreds of manuscripts.
Some have come to me requiring only slight tweaking. The texts are nearly ready for publication. The authors have created an interesting and well-crafted piece of writing. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]
There’s often only a permeable line between memoir coaching and editing. In practice, as we writers at the Memoir Network work with a writer, we find myself slipping from coaching a memoir writer to editing the manuscript we are working with and back to coaching. That’s how organically close coaching and editing really are. Depending on the state of your manuscript, coaching or editing or both are called for. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]
Word usage for the memoir writer
Every once in a while, I send you a few of my verbal pet peeves. Here are a few other unfortunate phrases that have come my way recently. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]
Have you wondered why even writers of the highest caliber need a top memoir editor?
Is memoir editing really important?
Following are reasons even the Hemingways, the Kerouacs, and the Woolfs need editors. As you (and they) write day after day, over the months and years it takes to complete a manuscript, some of the pitfalls we all become prey to include any three of the following:
- becoming attached to your prose. Often, we are enamored of particular scenes and go from tolerating their extraneous quality to feeling comfortable with the fact that they do not contribute to your memoir. Aren’t they so well-written and such good memories! In our self-editing, we become indulgent and leave the “little darlings” in. Many writing workshops justly talk about “killing your little darlings”—that is, editing them out. When you work with The Memoir Network, rest assured your editor will kindly put your “little darlings” to their deserved rest! You deserve no less from a top memoir editor.
Clients will often come to me after having done a considerable amount of writing. Sometimes I will receive 200- and 300-page manuscripts. Among them are manuscripts that are really at the editing stage, but… There are too many that are still—in spite of their polished look on the page—in an early stage of development.