Frequently Asked Questions

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What genres do you edit?

Our content editors specialize in speculative fiction: fantasy, science fiction, supernatural horror, and related genres. However, they’ve edited a variety of genres, and they’ll accept any kind of fiction for editing. If you order a content edit for a genre they’re less familiar with, they may not know the conventions of that genre. However, their primary focus during any content edit is universal storytelling principles that apply to all genres.

Our copy editors work on all genres, fiction and non-fiction.

Do you edit scripts or other non-book media?

One of our content editors, Oren, has experience with a wide variety of media, including:

  • Graphic novel and comic scripts
  • Stage, screen, and audio plays
  • Roleplaying systems and scenarios

Along with novels, short stories, and outlines, we’re happy to accept any of these formats for content editing.

Can I get a critique like you did for City of Bones, Sword of Shannara, Eragon, etc?

We’re happy you like our critiques! However, they are intended to benefit an outside audience, not the writer themself. If you really want one, we’ll take your money, but you’d be better served with a content edit. It gives the most bang for your buck, and it prevents you from missing the forest for the trees.

Critiques are actually quite time consuming (otherwise we’d put them on the blog more often). They are pricier per word than a content edit. We cannot give them away for free.

Can I get a content edit on just the first chapter or two of my novel?

If your story is still in progress, we’re happy to look at what you have and offer directions for keeping your ending on track.

However, if you’ve written or planned more than those chapters, we ask that you submit either the full manuscript or add in an outline covering the rest. Without this, our advice won’t be very helpful. Stories are made of many interconnected pieces; a great first chapter might be the wrong first chapter for the story you’re writing.

My draft is really really rough. Is that okay?

Absolutely! In content editing we review lots of very rough manuscripts – you’ll be in good company. In fact, the earlier you get a content edit the better. We’ll direct your energy so you learn a lot and you’ll get the most out of the time you spend in revisions.

It’s more unusual to submit super rough works for copy editing, because copy editing is generally done just before publication. You can still hire us to copy edit if your wordcraft is very rough, but the rougher it is, the more work it requires from your editor. For that reason, getting a copy edit on a rough manuscript will be more expensive.

Can I get a content edit before I start my first draft?

We’re happy to look over outlines. In fact, submitting an outline is usually significantly cheaper than sending a full draft, and catching problems early will save you lots of time. However, we ask that you check over your outline to make sure it has the information we’ll need to help you. See our guidelines for outlines.

We no longer work with writers before they have an outline. At such an early stage, the story is too nebulous.

Will you be making changes directly to my work?

Our content editors do not touch your work. They read it, discuss it with you, and deliver a separate, written report.

Our copy editors make changes directly to your piece. All changes are tracked, so you can review what they’ve done and roll back any changes you aren’t comfortable with.

What do your written recommendations look like?

Recommendations from our content editors usually run between 2,000 and 6,000 words, depending on the length and roughness of the story. Often, our report is divided between general aspects of the story such as plot, characters, and setting. In each section, we describe issues we see in the work and then offer suggestions for addressing it.

Example

I really liked the way the protagonist gets revenge on their arch nemesis at the end, it ties the story together well. There is one problem holding it back: the number of innocent bystanders who will be killed when the villain’s ship crashes. You’ve shown the protagonist has a heart of gold, so readers may not believe that your hero would let so many people to die. If readers do believe it, they might not like your protagonist anymore, which will damage the ending. A couple suggestions:

  • You could show that the civilians evacuated earlier when the villain’s lieutenant switched sides. The lieutenant had a guilty conscience, so that’s exactly the sort of good deed they’d go for.
  • The protagonist could stay after killing the villain to safely land the ship. It would be part of the falling action, and it would show how much the protagonist cares about others.

What if I’m not sure what I need?

You should get a content edit if your answer to any of the following questions is “yes.”

  • Is your story still in progress?
  • Do you want your editor to help you figure out what to do with your story?
  • Would you be willing to make significant revisions to your story if that would make it a lot more popular?

If you answered “no” to all of those questions, you’re looking at a copy edit. Copy editors help prepare a finished manuscript for publication; they will only work on your piece at the sentence level.

If you’re still unsure what to get, we recommend a content edit. It’s always good practice to get a content edit before you get a copy edit.

Ready for the Next Step?

Order Content Editingor  Request a Copy Editing Quote