Stuntmen & Stuntwomen of Writing: Editors & Proofreaders!


The recent surge of threads lately had me thinking of all the editors and proofreaders that I have hired over the last few years.

When I first started writing, I had no idea there were so many different types of editors: Beta Readers, Developmental Editors, Line Editors, Copy Editors, Proofreaders and I know I’m missing one, just can’t think of it.

I gave them what I thought were pretty good and they tore it apart. The first time I got my work back, my heart sank. It was a mess, completely marked and noted everywhere. It was also wonderful.

After I fixed everything, I sent it to a different editor, who tore it up again, then, again and again, it was never ending. Each time it got better and better. When I go back and look at my first draft, it makes me blush at how bad it was - AND, I actually thought it was good! :blush:

I have learned so much about writing a novel vs novella vs short story. I’m still bad at structures, tense (horrible at tense) and still screw up many things. If I ever get the grasp of how to write properly on my own, many people would probably be homeless. :wink:

So if you are a writer or a wanna be writer, here are a few tips for you:

  • Don’t ever proofread your own work - trust me it will suck.

  • You have no idea how often you forget to tell the reader what was in your head.

  • Joan could go from Australia to India in a matter of two seconds, unless you are writing Star Trek the next chapter, not possible. She could go from short hair to long hair - yikes! Hire an editor!

  • If you’re not sure what an editor can do for you because you are such a wonderful writer, let me put it in terms many will understand.

  • Writer = Hollywood Actor

  • Editor = Hollywood Stuntman/woman

  • Actor brings the character to life; stuntman or woman makes it exciting

  • Writer brings characters to life; editors/proofreaders makes it exciting

How many action flicks have you seen that you think would be any good if it wasn’t for those crazy stunt people doing insane stuff to make it exciting/make the actors seem like real tough superheroes?

A book may be good but a great editor will make it EXCITING!

They will drive you insane. Trust me you will get mad at them, you may even say a few bad words at them or at least at the computer while staring at, yet another set of markups.

If an editor ever gives you back your work and tells you how good it is or has very few fixes - it’s not because you are good, it’s because they are bad at their job. Fire them and hire someone else.

Good editors are professional, who will help you to shine again and again - they are very patient people. They will not criticize your work, they will not change the tone or meaning and will always help you with suggestions in the utmost professional manner.

For me, to all those who has/have/had ever proofed or edited for me or will, “Thank you!”

It’s a thankless job and I couldn’t have done it without you. That being said, this topic can use some serious proofreading! :smile:



[spoiler][details=Hide details don’t work under Spoiler][quote=“gina_riley2, post:1, topic:140615”]
I fixed everything, I sent

[quote=“gina_riley2, post:1, topic:140615”]
thankless job and I couldn’t

:grin: :grin: :grin:


This is amazing!!

Wait, does that make me bad at my job? :wink:


I love this post :slight_smile:

What do these people each do? I could probably google it but I’m feeling lazy.


This is a great post Gina, it really explains a lot about how the process works and what to expect.

As I only offer proofreading (with obvious mistakes/inconsistencies pointed out IF noticed) I often wonder how many people have been involved before me. I believe a lot of writers I have proofread for do not hire editors of any kind and believe their work is complete and perfect. I also wonder what difference it makes/would make to the final book if editors were/weren’t used.
It is great to hear your opinion and how, despite your work being ripped apart, you see the positivity and necessity of this process. I know on occasion clients of mine have felt hurt or insulted by certain things I have said or pointed out. That is obviously never the intention but the truth is that when anyone writes, we say many things in our head that never get on paper/screen and so our own understanding of a story or paragraph will be quite different to what a reader sees.

Mark Twain - who knew a thing or two about writing - said this about self-editing/proofreading:

You think you are reading proof, whereas you are merely reading your own mind; your statement of the thing is full of holes and vacancies but you don’t know it, because you are filling them from your mind as you go along

I love the editors as stunt actors analogy - perhaps that’s what I’ll tell my kids I do for a living instead.


I don’t know, maybe I’m not much of a stuntman, my proofreading gigs have never really done well.


Beta = Tells you how boring it is and ask “Why” is this happening or “Why” are they doing this.

DE/Manu Crit = Sees the big picture. Tells you what’s missing & what should be added for consistency

Line = Literally goes line by line and makes corrections, moves sentences around, and adds missing detail, checks for inconsistencies in character development

Copy = Also checks for inconsistencies in development of characters/settings, makes corrections in spellings - landmarks, historical figures, etc.; ensures correct usage of types of writing.

Proofreaders = Spellings, Punctuations, moves wording around: “Hollywood stuntman” vs “Stuntman of Hollywood” if necessary

Those are my definitions. There is a blur and disagreements on each. :grinning:

PS: Welcome back! :blush::heart:


??? :confused:

You confuse me? You have great gigs and reviews.

You’re just poking me - aren’t ya? :wink: :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Indeed, I am just poking you! =)


I offer multiple levels of editing, but I often wonder this as well. It seems like many writers just think editing is editing is editing, and that it doesn’t matter what particular strengths and weaknesses their manuscripts may have–any editor will fix every problem. I’ve been tempted to remove my “proofreading” gig for this reason, as people get excited by the low rate and it can be tough to convince them they actually need more than that!


Thank’s for the definitions.

And thank you :blush: