Hiring a Freelance Editor: Pricing and Getting the Most for Your Money

The Sarcastic Muse

The Freelance Editor Dilemma: Pricing and Getting the Most for Your MoneyI was chatting with my cousin a few weeks ago about freelance work. He used to work as a graphic designer—doing logos and such—and so he knows how difficult it can be to find work or, at the very least, to find people willing to pay for good work. Business owners would ask to have a professional logo made for next to nothing. And I thought: If that’s all the money they were willing to put into their business, then what does that tell me they think their company is worth?

The same issue occurs in the editing world, too. While many writers do understand that quality editing takes time and doesn’t come cheap, others seem to underestimate just what exactly editing entails—and what exactly they’re paying for.

I understand why writers may wish to find cheaper editing options—monetary issues or otherwise—but as with any business (and publishing novels is…

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Writing Fluid Fiction: When Should I Spell Out Numbers?

The Sarcastic Muse

Writing Fluid Fiction: When Should I Spell Out Numbers?Do you ever get to a number in your manuscript, pause, and then wonder: what should I do with it? Should I spell it out? Should I leave it in numerical form? Well, the good news is that there are no “official” rules. At best, there are a bunch of guidelines, and most of the time, it will be up to the editorial practices of the publishing house or up to you to make the final decision. But the bad news is that because there are no official rules, the various requirements and advice can be confusing. So I’m here today to give you a general idea of what to do with those pesky numerical decisions.

What’s the general rule for numbers?

As an editor, I am more or less in agreement with The Chicago Manual of Style (CMoS), which suggests “for nontechnical contexts” (aka: fiction) that you spell out…

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Writing Fluid Fiction: How To Use Ellipses

The Sarcastic Muse

Writing Fluid Fiction: How To Use EllipsesHave you ever wondered when it’s appropriate to use those three little dots in your prose? When used correctly, ellipses, as with most literary devices, can help with story progression and character development. But their efficacy will largely depend on how and where you place them in your story.

What do ellipses do?

Well, they have two primary functions:

1.) As a stylistic element, they allow the reader to infer meaning from the prose: whether formal speech patterns (pauses), the act of trailing off, or a switch in subject matter.

2.) They show that text has been omitted—mostly as a means of brevity.

In fiction, ellipses are most often found in speech or thought. Fictional dialogue is meant to feel real, but in reality, it would be impossible to mimic everyday speech without including a bunch of superfluous speech patterns: mis-starts, filler words, and repetitions. In normal speech, we ignore…

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Line Editing: Is It Really Necessary for my Novel?

The Sarcastic Muse

Line Editing: Is It Really Necessary for my Novel? A good line editor can see prose in a pumpkin patch.

Today is Halloween. Tread carefully around our website. Amanda (our resident horror writer) will release the monsters from her lair tonight. Beware. And watch your children closely when they’re out searching for treats. You never know what they’ll find in the shadows — or what shadows will find them.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of time today (or this month). But I figured I’d give Amanda some love. Last night, she and I did a little work with her flash fiction piece. (Read it HERE.) Sadly, I had to leave after the first paragraph and a half, but I think she did a fine job without me anyway.

But what were we doing? It’s only a few hundred words, right? It shouldn’t take that long. No reason to stay up until 4 a.m. 5 a.m. Well…

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Writing Fluid Fiction: Rolling Eyes, Turning Heads, and Other Autonomous Body Parts

The Sarcastic Muse

Have you ever paused while reading a story because the character’s body has suddenly taken on a life of its own? You know what I’m talking about: the rolling eyes and the wandering hands that no longer have an actual person controlling them. You probably find yourself with a comical image in your head, too.

As with passive voice, dangling modifiers, and simultaneous action, this phenomenon — known as autonomous, disembodied, or even animate body parts — is an issue of writing craft and remains my biggest pet peeve as an editor.

What are autonomous body parts?

A body part is “disembodied” when it acts independently of the character: “Her fist pounded on the door.” The sentient body part becomes the subject of the sentence and thus completes/does the action of the verb.

Why are they bad?

Writing Fluid Fiction: Rolling Eyes, Turning Heads, and Other Autonomous Body Parts Eyes should only be autonomous if they’re the kind you find rolling around…

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Finding a Freelance Editor: Types of Fiction Edits

The Sarcastic Muse

Finding a Freelance Editor: Types of Freelance EditsFinding a freelance editor for your novel requires research, and as I said in my post a few weeks ago, one of the ways you can narrow down your options is to know which kind of edit you’re looking for. However, different people use different terms for different kinds of edits, so I’ll try to give you the most accurate portrayal of editing types as I can.

Manuscript Assessment/Developmental Edit

A developmental editor’s primary job is to give the author a general assessment of his/her story. Instead of giving focused comments on particular passages, the developmental editor will typically type up a packet of notes in which he/she will point out the strengths and weakness of the plot, characters, and overall language use, and then offer some advice for reworking these areas.

Rewriting sections or the entire manuscript may be necessary. Good, critical beta readers can provide the same kind…

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Writing Fluid Fiction: How To Use Italics

The Sarcastic Muse

I’ve put on my editing hat before: breaking down the difference between passive and active voice, discussing grammatical aspect (the progressive and perfect forms of verbs), and I’ve even given an overview of good and bad repetition. Today I’d like to discuss a topic I don’t read about too often: how to use italicized text effectively in your writing.

Writing Fluid Fiction: How to Use Italics This is what an overkill of italics looks like to an editor.

I see the overuse of italics most often in novels that are supposed to be from the third-person limited POV. Newer writers may rely on  first-person internal monologues because they have not yet mastered the voice of their character or because they do not fully understand how to write from a tight third-person POV. But as a rule, in stories written from the third-person limited POV, unspoken discourse does not require (and in fact should not…

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