Substantive (or Structural) Editing: Intensive evaluation of sections, chapters, or the full manuscript looking at organization, tone, consistency, pacing, clarity, and closure. The standards for substantive editing use The Chicago Manual of Style and the manuscript genre’s conventions as benchmarks for the evaluation.
Substantive editing of a manuscript is a detailed, systematic edit. At the author’s request, I look at feedback from your beta readers. I make notes throughout the manuscript, using the track changes tool in MS Word, pencil if working on a hard copy, and comment notes on Adobe Acrobat. I provide a detailed written report with the results of the evaluation and recommendations for change.
Detailed suggestions are incorporated into a typed summary document that typically ranges from 5-15 pages, depending on the manuscript length and findings. The notes include instructions for revisions on a page-by-page basis, as well as overall major issues.
On an electronic manuscript edit, notes on the specific sentences to which I refer in my notes are included so the author can see exactly where the edits need to be made. Unless a prior agreement is made to include ghostwriting (an additional fee), it is the writer’s decision and responsibility to incorporate the suggested edits into the manuscript.
The Substantive Editing Process
Checks appropriateness of material for a target market
Recommends restructured text to fit the format and genre
Suggests moving paragraphs and sentences to improve pacing and information flow
Identifies inconsistent voice
Evaluates chapter and section transitions and closure of subplots and topics *NF
Examines focus, organization, clarity, visual elements, consistent structure *NF
Identifies gaps in content, inconsistencies in style
Deletes outdated content
Makes recommendations for style and general content of illustrations and diagrams *NF
Looks for clear, concise, comprehensible wording without run-on sentences or fragments
Tests references for the accuracy of links and ease in finding *NF
Validates authority and professionalism *NF
Alters, if agreed in advance, content to meet the recommendations of a publisher
Fractional edits are edits of a specific section of a manuscript, i.e. Chapters 1 – 5, for specific writing tools such as the opening hook for fiction or statement of purpose for non-fiction.
My fees are based on nationally accepted standards. Payment plans are available.
If your manuscript is ready for a substantive look at the content, contact me through this confidential form, so we can get busy!